Federal Budget - Wholesome but lacking sizzle 

NSW Farmers’ Association is describing the 2018 Federal Budget as ‘wholesome’- but lacking sizzle for rural, remote and regional Australia.

NSW Farmers’ President, Derek Schoen, said investment in Biosecurity, GPS and satellite imagery, agricultural freight, and the extension of the $20,000 instant asset write off are among the positive announcements for the Australian agricultural industry. 

“We welcome investment in Biosecurity to enhance our clean and green credentials which will help to grow the value of agriculture.  

“A new $6.6 million allocation for established pest and weeds will certainly not go astray. Tackling invasive species is one of the biggest cost imposts on farmers and the natural environment, and this is a notoriously under resourced space. We'll be seeking to ensure investment is made in projects that can have direct impact on the ground.

“We’re also pleased to see $260 million commitment to improve GPS and satellite imagery, but disappointed there is no new commitment to further address mobile black spots.

“Poor telecommunication service is a major problem for a lot of our members. Some of our farmers can’t even make a phone call or send a text from their farm. The Government’s failure to commit additional funding to the Mobile Blackspot Program is a big let-down for regional communities,” Mr Schoen said.

The Budget provides funding to better understand agriculture’s labour force needs.  It also allocates funds to the development of a Fresh Food Precinct at Western Sydney Airport, an issue long championed as a game changer for food and fibre producers in New South Wales seeking to export their produce to new markets.  

“Investments to improve the efficiency and reliability of agricultural freight is central to the viability of the farming sector. As such, the NSW Farmers’ Association welcomes the announcement of $400m on rail duplication at Port Botany looks forward to greater details around the Western Sydney Cities Deal,” Mr Schoen said.

Other positive funding announcements include:

The continuation of the asset write-off for small business assets under $20,000.
Funding for the next step in the transformation of the APVMA 
Investment in rural health and education 

“This is a wholesome Budget but it’s fair to say we were expecting more agriculture specific announcements. The Association will be keeping a close eye on how the initiatives announced will benefit our industry,” Mr Schoen concluded.

Date: 9 May 2018
Media Contact:   Kathleen Curry  |  Public Affairs Director | 0429 011 690