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$100 million for agricultural RD&E, promises Coalition

28 August 2013

One of the backbones of the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) policy priorities for the upcoming Federal Election - an increase in funds for agricultural research, development and extension (RD&E) - has today been committed to by the Coalition should they win office.

In a move strongly welcomed by the NFF, the Coalition has today promised $100 million in funding for the 15 Rural Research and Development Corporations specifically targeted at increasing the profitability of Australian agriculture.

“We can’t stress strongly enough how important an increase in funding for agricultural RD&E is to our nation’s farmers and the future of Australia’s agricultural sector,” Mr Linnegar said.

“Australian farmers are already more efficient that they have ever been, growing more food and fibre using less land, less water and less labour than at any time in Australia’s history. And yet, with a growing world population, the pressure is on for farmers to grow more with even fewer resources.

“That’s why R&D, and in turn, extension, is so important – driving innovation to help farmers improve both productivity and profitability.

“As we have long said, there has been very little real growth in public investment in Australia’s RD&E since the 1970s, and now the sector is feeling the impact with slowing productivity growth. The foot is off the pedal at a time when we need to speeding up, not slowing down.

“The Coalition’s announcement will go a long way towards rebuilding vital investment in agricultural RD&E.

“In the lead up to the election, the NFF has been calling for an increase in total national expenditure in agricultural R&D, including both public and private investment, by one percent by 2015 – an increase of $281 million over the next two years.

“What we have today seen from the Coalition is a commitment to increase public investment in agricultural R&D by $100 million – an excellent first step towards reaching this goal.

“We will be working closely with the Coalition, if elected, to turn this election promise into core agricultural policy,” Mr Linnegar said.

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