FEDERAL ELECTION: AgForce general president Georgie Somerset welcomes the budget's agriculture allocation.
FEDERAL ELECTION: AgForce general president Georgie Somerset welcomes the budget's agriculture allocation. David Kelly

Ag Minister goes for the carrot in the Federal Budget 2019

THE agriculture industry's chord was strummed when the Coalition Government announced Australia was back into the black after the Federal Budget 2019 was released last week.

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said he was going for the carrot rather than the big stick approach in support towards agriculture becoming a $100 billion industry by 2030.

Agriculture heavyweights such as AgForce general president Georgie Somerset said she welcomed the acknowledgement of agriculture's vital contribution to Australia in the Federal Budget.

"Producers welcome funding to support those affected by the current catastrophic flood, fire and drought events, as well as initiatives to mitigate the effects of future natural disasters,” she said.

"The allocation of $3.3 billion, including $300 million in requested grants, to support flood-ravaged producers across north Queensland, and the $6.3 billion allocated for those suffering hardship because of record drought are both welcome and prudent investments.

"We also welcome the government's foresight in supporting industry to reduce the risk and impact of future events, with a new $3.9 billion Emergency Response Fund to reduce disaster risk, in addition to its $3.9 billion future drought fund.”

Mr Littleproud said he secured $6.3 billion to aid Maranoa farmers, whether it was through farm household assistance, pest and weeds, fencing or write-offs for fodder storage facilities.

"The $6.3 billion is focusing on support of farmers and keeping them alive and going until it rains - we have had some good rain in the past but one rain event doesn't fix a drought,” he said.

"It's also about $5 billion future fund that'll pay a $100 million dividend every year that we can put into research, development and infrastructure that will build a greater resilience for the agsector for drought times when they come.

"We've also created another $3.9 billion disaster fund so that if we do have a major flood or incident we have something to draw down on to support our farmers.”

Mrs Somerset said with an election imminent, AgForce will continue to work with all sides of politics on advancing sustainable agribusiness.

"There is still more to be done by government to match the outstanding efforts by producers.”


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