An alarming study commissioned by Woolworths earlier this year showed some shocking statistics when it comes to knowing where our food comes from.
According to the study of over 1600 children aged between six and 17 year olds more than 60% did not know that mint grows from the ground and 92% didn’t know that bananas come from plants. Forty per cent of students were unable to identify a zucchini or apricot and a high proportion of students believed that cotton was produced from an animal.
This divide between our productive agricultural industry and consumers is very worrying. For Australians to understand this industry, which has been so valuable to our history and our current economy, they need to have a basic understanding of the facts of production.
Last week the Minister for Education and Minister for Agriculture announced that the Coalition will be investing an additional $2 million to ensure that primary and secondary students can learn more about agriculture.
An important part of this investment will be ensuring that teachers have the necessary resources to teach kids about agriculture including online education tools.
Our agriculture sector is well poised to take advantage of the growing middle class in Asia who are seeking high quality agricultural products but without doubt awareness about agriculture at home is important too.
Knowledge about agriculture in primary and secondary schooling is also essential for students considering a career in agriculture. This is a necessary investment to keep the sector strong.
The Federal Government has released the Terms of Reference for the White Paper on the Reform of the Federation.
Our Federation has been the cornerstone for our system of Government for over 114 years and many things have changed over that time. The idea behind the White Paper is to see if there is a way of simplifying our system to minimise duplication by different levels of Government.
Over the years the Federal Government has increasingly become involved in matters that have traditionally been the responsibilities of the State and Territory Governments. The States and Territories have also become increasingly reliant on Federal funding.
Ultimately we should be aiming to have the most efficient system of Government possible to ensure that the taxpayer’s money is spent on delivering services and reducing our debt. The White Paper will look at ways to enable this to happen.
The White Paper is due to be delivered by the end of 2015 and more information can be found on the Prime Minister’s website www.pm.gov.au.