Back in black budget boost for farmers

NSW Farmers has welcomed a ‘back in black’ Federal budget that features support for local food and fibre production and rural communities through drought assistance, export market access and investment in regional roads, rail and airports. 

NSW Farmers President James Jackson says there were positive commitments for agriculture from the Treasurer, including $6.3 billion dollars in drought support.

“Like the Treasurer said in his budget speech, the drought has taken a heavy toll and the Federal Government has adopted such measures as extending the Farm Household allowance and investment in mental health services in response,” Mr Jackson said. 

“The significant commitments to improve regional infrastructure  and connectivity will go a long way towards ensuring our fresh food and fibre gets to domestic and export markets more efficiently and aid the drought recovery process.”

Mr Jackson said aspects of the Federal Budget enhance State Government commitments championed by NSW Farmers in the recent state election.  

“Announcements such as $100 million for regional airports compliments NSW Farmers’ calls for regional food hubs and the future foods CRC as key drivers for reaching a the goal of a $30 billion agriculture industry by 2030.”

The 2019–20 Budget has also committed $29.4 million, over four years, to enhance Australia's agricultural exports. The package includes funding to increase market access, improved access to plant genetics for the horticulture sector and more than $11 million to minimise the impact of non-tariff trade barriers.

Mr Jackson said reducing the tax rate for small and medium-sized companies with an annual turnover of less than $50 million and expanded access to an instant asset write-off is also good news. 

“Competition remains a key concern for farmers, particularly dealing with the oligopoly power of processors and supermarkets. The budget does include steps to fund a mandatory dairy code, however  that initial funding for the code is only $1.9 million and the ACCC Agricultural Unit has been only funded for a further year.”

 “While the budget does include some measures to help recruit seasonal labour, no news regarding an agricultural visa is disappointing . It’s a practical solution to improving access to labour, particularly in the horticulture sector.” 

“Overall, this infrastructure heavy budget recognises the significant value of regional communities and agriculture to the future prosperity of Australia and the projection for future surpluses bodes well for further investment for our agriculture sector.”

Date: Tuesday 2 April 2019
Media Contact:   Michael Burt  | 0428 228 988