The NSW Nationals in the federal government have delivered their AG2030 plan in support of the farm industry’s target of $100 billion in farmgate value by 2030.
The 2020 Budget underpins our focus on ensuring that farmers thrive, prosper and create jobs in a post pandemic world, and lays the foundations for industry to reach its 2030 goal.
We have identified seven priority areas of action that will support the industry’s vision.
By focusing our efforts on these priority areas, we can create the environment needed for industry to reach this ambitious industry objective.
Trade and Exports
With 70 per cent of Australian farm produce exported, boosting our exports and expanding international markets is crucial to the ongoing growth in farmgate production and productivity.
This year’s budget delivers $328 million for Congestion Busting to boost farm exports, through a digital single touch point for exporters, and more sector specific streamlining measures for the live export, red meat, seafood and plant industries.
This budget also provides an additional $317 million for the successful International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM), taking our total IFAM commitment to $669 million.
We’re also investing $28.6 million for a Simplified Trade System to simplify approvals and red tape at the border.
Innovation & Research
A new Agricultural Innovation Agenda including:
- Digital Foundations for Agriculture Strategy,
- National Agricultural Innovation Policy Statement, and
- $86 million for Eight Adoption and Innovation Hubs
are at the heart of our innovation strategy for Australia’s farm sector.
We are investing $1.3 million to support Agriculture Innovation Australia to improve collaboration and commercialisation amongst and between RDCs as well as $7.2 million to streamline and modernise levy legislation.
Reliable and affordable telecommunications is crucial for our farmers and regional communities, so we are investing in the $83 million Regional Connectivity Program to improve telecommunications infrastructure and boost connectivity outside of the NBN fixed-line footprint. This is in addition to the $300 million co-investment fund to upgrade regional NBN customers to fibre as part of the $4.5 billion network investment plan.
Backing the people and communities that work in and support our farm sector is the highest priority for this government.
Through Higher Education reforms we have introduced, the cost of agriculture-related tertiary courses have been reduced by 62 per cent. We are also investing $250 million for access to up to 400 short courses for priority fields including agriculture to upskill our workforce.
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the seasonal agricultural workforce, posing major challenges for the 2020-21 summer harvest.
Through the Budget, the NSW Nationals in the federal government are investing $17.4 million in relocation assistance and $16.3 million to incentivise young Australians to take up farm work by temporarily changing Youth Allowance (student) and ABSTUDY independence eligibility criteria.
The NSW Nationals in the federal government are also committed to supporting communities impacted by the drought.
We are investing $155.6 million over four years to support drought and flood-impacted communities. This includes:
- $50.0 million in 2020?21 to extend the On?farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme,
- $19.6 million in 2021?22 to extend the drought function of the National Drought Response and Recovery Agency for a further year to continue coordination and community engagement for the Government’s response and recovery activities; and
- $86.0 million over four years from 2020?21, through the Future Drought Fund, to establish eight Drought Resilience and Adoption Hubs that support networks of researchers, farmers, agricultural business and community groups to enhance drought resilience practice, tools and technology.
We’re also investing $60 million for 2019 Monsoon Trough: A strategy for long-term recovery to provide a blueprint for recovery from and resilience against future economic shocks as a result of natural disasters. The investment will fund five locally led initiatives that support resilience, improve access to reliable and affordable telecommunications and energy services, increase disaster planning and preparedness, encourage economic diversification and support the mental wellbeing of young people.
Fair, Strong and Resilient Supply Chains
We believe farmers deserve to be fairly rewarded for their work, and are treated appropriately in the supply chain. Establishing an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Inquiry into the Perishable Goods Supply Chain.
We are also conducting an Evaluation into Country of Origin Labelling for food, which is also examining options to expand the scheme to include seafood and fresh cut-flowers.
We’re investing $1.3 billion in a Modern Manufacturing Initiative which will see the government invest in six strategically important sectors of the Australian Economy including the food and beverage sector.
An additional $50 million has been committed to Industry Growth Centres, including Food Innovation Australia Limited – to enable them to assist in implementing the Government’s new Modern Manufacturing Strategy (the Strategy).
We are also investing $107.2 million into the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative which will support projects that address identified supply chain vulnerabilities.
We are committed to rewarding farmers for their stewardship through the $34 million Agriculture Biodiversity Stewardship Pilot Program and the Australian Farm Biodiversity Certification Scheme.
Recent reforms will empower farmers to diversify their income and earn credits under the $2 billion Climate Solution Fund. The changes to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) toolkit will now allow the agency to invest in soil carbon sequestration projects, unlocking farmers’ access to $1.6 billion in ARENA funding.
Protecting Australia’s world-class biosecurity system and our enviable status as a pest and disease-free nation continues to be a major priority for the government. Around $873 million is committed for biosecurity and export programs in 2020–21, an increase of $243 million since 2014–15.
Water & Infrastructure
This Budget delivers $3.5 billion for dams and water infrastructure through the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.
We have already committed to more than 20 water infrastructure projects across Australia, supplying billions of litres of water for productive use each year, but we want to do even more.
That’s why we have doubled our investment to $325 million for Wyangala Dam and $242 million to the Dungowan Dam project as a part of this additional funding.
We have also established the National Water Grid Authority, standing up an Advisory Body, which is developing a new investment framework and completing five construction projects.