State Budget ‘Underwhelming’ for Agriculture

The State Government has received a fail from AgForce for their budget delivered this week with AgForce General President Grant Maudsley saying the State Government had outlined no clear vision to help the industry grow and prosper into the future.

cloncurry railway stationSupport for water saving measures in the Great Artesian Basin and continued drought assistance are among the few highlights in an “underwhelming” State Budget for agriculture.

Mr Maudsley says while there are billions of dollars set aside for road and rail projects in south-east Queensland, there appears to be no major new funding for regional and rural transport initiatives.

“It’s particularly disappointing there is no funding for an AgForce-backed rail freight infrastructure project in central and southern Queensland that would be a game changer for grain growers.”

Mr Maudsley says the State Budget did not include the boost in biosecurity funding that AgForce was hoping for to help producers manage pests and diseases, and meet their new biosecurity obligations.

“Wild dog exclusion fencing has helped revitalize the sheep and wool industry in Queensland, and while the extra $1 million in funding is welcome, it falls short of what is needed to meet demand.”

Mr Maudsley is also disappointed that the intergenerational farm transfer duty exemption had not yet been extended to family trusts and companies.

“AgForce will keep advocating for this change made as soon as possible.”

On the up side, Mr Maudsley welcomes the continuation of assistance measures for primary producers battling the current drought, as well as $16 million for a program aimed at helping producers better manage future drought and climate risks.

Irrigation plantAgForce also acknowledges the $3.4 million over four years for the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority to undertake a rural debt survey, operate the Farm Debt Restructure Office, and develop a policy and research function in the Authority. and the Natural Resources Minister’s commitment of up to $4 million towards the Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative.

“The Great Artesian Basin underpins $13 billion in economic activity annually, including $3 billion from livestock in Queensland, so it’s vital that the Federal and State Governments work with landholders to finish the job of capping bores and piping bore drains to save precious water.”