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Federal Budget Submission 2011

22 February 2011

The National Farmers' Federation's (NFF's) Federal Budget Submission 2011 (downloadable below) draws together the threads necessary for a national response to flood and cyclone ravaged communities, but also addresses the perennial problems that plague the nation.

In launching the publication, NFF President Jock Laurie noted: “The irony of flood and cyclone devastation is it has thrust regional Australia centre stage of what must be a broader nation-building vision. The Gillard Government has to recognise and grasp the new possibilities that a dramatically changed landscape affords.

“It’s more than a massive recovery effort, though it is certainly that. Genuine regional development must now be a priority for 2011 and beyond, not just to rebuild what we’ve lost but to make it better by driving long-term economic growth and efficiency, social and economic inclusion of inland Australia and proactive environmental management.”

Headline issues from the NFF manifesto include:

Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements

The NFF asserts that recent events have demonstrated that the business support element of the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) package can be enhanced. The NFF encourages the Government to explore additional measures within the NDRRA to leverage private capital in the rebuild effort.

National Food Plan

The Government must elevate the status of the National Food Plan to a ‘white paper’ to shape a whole-of-government approach to these pressing issues, and that the development of the Plan be sufficiently resourced to achieve this outcome.

Agricultural research and development

The Government must reverse the decline in agricultural research and development funding, and work with the sector (and across government agencies) on a plan to ensure sustained productivity gains and to continued to re-enforce Australia’s position as a leader in international rural research.

Small business taxation arrangements

A renewed commitment to reducing the company income tax rate to 29% for the 2013-14 income year and to 28% from the 2014-15 income year, in conjunction with the introduction of the MRRT. The NFF also seeks a renewed commitment to a 1 July 2012 expansion of the existing capital allowance concessions available for small businesses.

Freight transport

Australia needs a sweeping strategic overhaul of freight transport infrastructure. While overtures have been made towards this vision, through the publication of the National Ports Strategy and work to develop a National Freight Strategy (which still needs to be delivered), to make any difference, plans need to be developed to implement these strategies and resources dedicated to turning these reports into actions. Resources need to be available to ensure that these strategies are turned into on-the-ground infrastructure.

Telecommunications

Regional Australians have many lingering unanswered questions and require information on how the Government intends to roll out the National Broadband Network to regional communities through fibre, satellite and wireless technologies. How much will it cost people? How will the NBN be upgraded as technology advances? Will upgrades be guaranteed?

Australian Consumer Law – education

The Government must support development of educational materials to assist farmers to proactively safeguard their interests.

Australia's anti-dumping system reform

The NFF believes it is inappropriate to incorporate an emphasis on economy-wide impacts in relation to Australia’s anti-dumping system.

Environmental Stewardship

Current funding will expire in June 2011 and must be extended to allow the program to encompass the full suite of ecological communities and endangered species (matters of national significance) identified under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act) as a matter of urgency. Having committed to sound proactive environmental management via Environmental Stewardship, the Government cannot afford to walk away now.

Biosecurity (the missing Beale reforms)

Significant elements of the Beale review recommendations, particularly those relating to Australia’s import quarantine reforms, remain unfunded.

Drought pilot

A full assessment of the Drought Pilot must be completed prior to contemplating a further roll out of the policy into other regions of Australia. During this period, the Government must not pre-empt the findings of this assessment by scaling back its contingency budget for current Exceptional Circumstances (EC) support measures. The NFF expects to see EC drought support funding commitments over the forward estimates.

Chemical registration and regulation

Increased public funding of the APVMA to develop further efficiencies in its operation is warranted, but must also recognize the public benefits derived from chemical users being able to access new chemicals to manage resistance in pests and avoid adverse environmental and human health impacts.

Australian Farmers. An important part of Australia's future.

Related files:

« Drought pilot needs a three-point landing


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