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Regional Australia pivotal to economic stimulus: NFF

2 February 2009

AS THE Australian Government ponders its economic stimulus package mark II, the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) is urging capital works investment in regional Australia as farm activity continues to underpin the national economy

“Agricultural production is the only thing keeping the Australian economy out of the red at the moment,” NFF CEO Ben Fargher explained.

“Australia’s most recent national account figures reveal agriculture (recording 14.9% growth) has been keeping the Australian economy from slipping into negative territory.

“On top of that, over the last few months our farmers have employed an additional 19,000 people... taking our total direct employee figures to 315,000 Australians – and we have the capacity to employ more.

“If the Australian farm sector is to remain Australia’s anchor through the turbulent economic days ahead, the Government must ensure regional Australia looms large in its stimulus thinking.

“Obviously, the Government needs to act, and do so quickly, to spur spending and shore-up various sectors across the economy. But, equally, the Government must be mindful of capital works projects to fill jobs now and generate long-term efficiency and productivity gains.

“In this crisis, major infrastructure development can be a panacea for our immediate needs but also address the strategic imperative for economic growth. If you have the money to inject into the economy, do so wisely by investing in projects that will make a difference.

“That means making sure regional Australia is not overlooked for those projects.

“Such an approach would complement the plan we laid out in our 2009 Federal Budget Submission (released on 19 January 2009). Our fervent hope is to ensure the Government responds positively to the challenges of today with a plan for the future, and that the vital role Australian agriculture plays as the bedrock of the national economy is recognised and stimulated.”

[ENDS]

The NFF’s full Federal Budget Submission 2009 is available at: Publications

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

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