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Budget Delivers NFF Initiatives for Growth

9 May 2006

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has welcomed Federal Budget tax reform enabling young farmers to bring fresh approaches and new technologies to the family farm, investment spending on regional road and rail networks to deliver vital transport efficiencies between farm gate to final destination, and on-farm water initiatives to ensure the sustainability of the Murray-Darling basin across New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland.

Budget night demonstrates NFF’s effective voice with the Federal Government adopting all three key planks of the farm group’s pre-Budget push for Capital Gains Tax reform, a major upgrading of regional transport infrastructure, and recognising the increasing role farmers can play in achieving environmental outcomes on behalf of all Australians.

TAXES…

“With 98% of Australian farms being family operations, creating an environment conducive to succession planning in the management of the business, allowing younger farmers to bring new ideas and up-to-date technologies applicable to agriculture back to the family farm, is vital for the future of the sector,” NFF President Peter Corish said.

“When you consider that Australian agriculture generates $72 billion in production and drives $30 billion exports each year, while supporting 1.6 million Australian jobs across our cities and regions, as a nation it is imperative to get that hand over right and keep younger farmers in the game.

“The Capital Gains Tax reforms announced in tonight’s Federal Budget brings more family farms into line with small business, making that generational transition smoother and more attractive to the next generation of farmers.

TRANSPORT…

“The $2.3 billion upgrade of transport infrastructure (roads and rail to ports) is very welcome and will make us more efficient and competitive, especially our agricultural exports where growth is essential.

“Pleasingly, the package provides a $307.5M one-off injection under the Roads to Recovery program – specific road funding targeting rural roads, not just the major highways – recognising farmers’ need to get their produce from the farm to the national highways and railways efficiently, without delays and costly mishaps due to dilapidated rural roads.

“This package is precisely the shot in the arm agricultural producers have been hoping for.

ENVIRONMENT…

“Consistent with the National Water Initiative, in which the NFF has been a pivotal voice, the

Budget pumps an additional $500 million into the Murray-Darling basin – one of Australia’s most important waterways for agricultural production, accounting for 35% of all agricultural production in Australia.

“This will pave the way for farmers to deliver water efficiency gains through improved on-farm water management, with those water savings able to be poured back into the river system. It’s a win for the environment and a win for farm efficiency.

“This comes on the heels of Federal Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran already foreshadowing NFF’s Environmental Stewardship initiative last month, which was detailed in our pre-Budget submission.

“Under our program, farmers safeguarding the environment ‘over and beyond their normal duty of care’, conserving native vegetation and protecting wildlife corridors and the like, will be recognised and supported in preserving the environmental assets the broader community identifies as important.

BUDGET WRAP…

“The major tax, transport and environmental initiatives announced in tonight’s Budget represent a strategic investment to sow the seeds for prosperity, driving nation-building reforms which will see agriculture thrive through competition, innovation, economic growth and sustainability. Economic drivers the NFF has been calling for.”

Media Enquiries: Brett Heffernan on (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250.

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