OPINION – Australian trade deal would be a disaster for Welsh agriculture – Powys County Times

Credit: Original article can be found here

Our MP Craig Williams is living in fantasy world if he believes the Australian trade deal will be good for Welsh farmers, writes Powys county councillor Elwyn Vaughan.

This is a deal to benefit big business not the hill farmers of Mid Wales. What’s actually anticipated is that we, the UK, will increase by 7.3 per cent our exports to Australia

Australia’s exports meanwhile to the UK are anticipated to increase by 83.2 per cent.

Added to that is the fact that Canada have already stated they want a deal similar to the Australian one, which will set a precedent for Brazil and New Zealand which would be a total disaster for our agricultural sector and rural communities.

Also of concern is the welfare standards in Australia, compared to Wales.

The RSPCA are concerned about a number of these. There are way longer travel times allowed in Australia – 48 hours without stops for animals as opposed to eight hours here.

They allow battery cages for chickens which are illegal here. Increased use of growth hormones for beef, increased use of antibiotics on chickens.

The Westminster Government strategy of trade deals that benefit big business, be they from Australia, America or Brazil will not help our rural communities let alone keep standards.

It’s all about corporations and their investment partners.

That will have a devastating effect and in particular on those areas where the farming sector is an integral part of the vitality of the Welsh language and culture, part of the wealth of diversity in the same way as the wider loss of biodiversity is important.

We therefore need new impetus and vision which puts the sustainability of our communities, rural traditions, language and culture as an integral part of the wider sustainability of our environment.

Otherwise we’ll merely end up with expensive holiday homes, unaffordable housing and depopulation dominating our rural communities.