Excise will hit farmers

The Land Column

By Fiona Simson, President, NSW Farmers

As farmers we were generally pleased to see that the Abbott Government’s first budget has seen the government largely honor its election commitments to our industry.

In particular we are pleased that it has left the diesel fuel rebate alone despite rumours to the contrary over the past few weeks.

The rebate we all know is for the fuel excise charged for on road use – something many people outside our industry don’t realise. Had this action proceeded, our industry would have taken a very large hit. Our hard work, along with that of the National Farmers Federation and other state farming organisations, in reminding politicians what the diesel fuel rebate is about seems to have paid off.

The fuel excise however will be hard on farmers.

It is unfortunate that the fuel excise has been increased as this will impact many of our members. The government has stated this excise will be used to fund its $11.6 billion infrastructure program. We will be working very hard to ensure regional and rural Australia is well represented in this program.

Meanwhile the $483 million cut over 5 years to Landcare is still lacking detail, but it would seem that this could have implications for the Local Land Services agency in NSW. We will be talking to our state agriculture minister this week to find how what those implications are. It was our understanding that Caring for Country funding would flow into the Local Land Services agency. However, the budget has indicated that this funding has been significantly cut and that the Caring for Country initiative will be rolled into Landcare to create the National Landcare Program (NLP).

Other commitments by the Coalition to agriculture which appear to have been met include an increase in funding for rural research and development corporations ($100 million commitment) and an $8 million commitment to improving minor use chemical registration.

One surprise was the lack of specific funding commitment to the government’s Agriculture Competitiveness White Paper in this budget. We expect this won’t be overlooked next budget.

ends

15 May 2014 

 

Contact: Veneta Chapple

Phone: 0429 990 218

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