Tuesday 15 May, 2012
Budget: Surplus achieved, but no long term vision for ag
Last week’s Federal Budget contained both good and bad news for agriculture.
The NFF had called on the Government to deliver two things in the Budget: to ensure funds already committed and promises made were upheld, and to create a platform for future investment in food and fibre.
While agriculture was not completely unscathed, there was some strong commitment to key industry priorities, including:
However, on the negative side, the Budget also:
In finding additional funding for biosecurity and NRM, the Government has laid a modest foundation – however a truly strong position for agriculture requires more commitment and investment for R&D, infrastructure, improving labour capacity and developing new tools to manage climatic risk. Only this will ensure we can capitalise on the vast opportunities for agriculture. For more, read our release.
Agriculture misses out on rate cuts: May Monitor
Only one financial institution has made any reduction in interest rates for agribusiness customers over the last month, the NFF Agribusiness Loan Monitor for May has found.
Despite the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) reducing the official cash rate down 50 basis points to 3.75 percent earlier this month, only one bank has followed suit: ANZ, with a reduction of 0.60 percent in its term loan rates. However, this has been offset with an increase of 0.60 percent in its rates for overdraft customers.
This is very disappointing news for agribusiness customers, indicating that all the talk in the press about bank responses to the RBAs decision hasn’t translated into positive outcomes for the farming sector. The NFF is calling on financial lenders to pass the full rate cut onto agribusiness customers. For more, read our release or view the May NFF Agribusiness Loan Monitor.
Ag education on the agenda
Three days after the release of the Federal Budget, the Government also confirmed its commitment to the Primary Industries Education Foundation (PIEF), announcing funding of $225,000 over three years.
As a founding partner of PIEF, the NFF lobbied for its continued support in our pre-Budget submission. We’re very pleased to see that the Government has listened to the concerns of industry, and has continued its commitment to this important program. The funding will assist PIEF to progress their work in ensuring agriculture is factored into the national curriculum and to continue developing a suite of educational materials for school children.
Meanwhile, the NFF continues to play an important role in addressing the ever-growing issues of agricultural education, skills, training and labour shortages facing the sector; bringing together all organisations involved in this area, including PIEF, to create a whole of industry approach.
Following a successful Industry Roundtable in February this year, the NFF yesterday hosted the next step in a collaborative solution; an Agricultural Education, Skills and Training working group meeting in Canberra. For more, read our release.
Coming up at NFF.
> Blueprint forum at Parliament House
> FarmDay 2012
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