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Budget roadmap charts course for $100 billion in farm production by 2030

24 January 2018

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has outlined a list of the key ingredients needed to take agriculture to a $100 billion industry by 2030, in its Federal Budget roadmap.

The NFF’s comprehensive Pre-Budget Submission continues the call for: trade liberalisation; significant investments in transport and telecommunications infrastructure; improvements to the tax system; investments to attract the right skills to regional areas; and meaningful cuts to the business compliance burden.

The peak body has also recommended funding to: unleash on-farm technology; better promote Australia’s agriculture exports; and educate school students on where their food and fibre comes from.

NFF President Fiona Simson said the NFF’s ‘bold, but achievable’ goal for agriculture to increase its production value by 67% between now and 2030, required a clear roadmap.

“Agriculture is one of Australia’s fastest growing sectors.

“In 2016-2017, production was valued at $63 billion.

"To turn this into a 12 digit figure – there must be investment across the board.”

Ms Simson said Australian agriculture was a vibrant, innovative and entrepreneurial sector, a significant export earner and a cornerstone of the national economy.

“Investing in agriculture benefits all Australians, in particular regional communities, and this should always be taken into account when assessing the value of measures to support agriculture.

"Agriculture also adds value in other industries such as manufacturing, by providing opportunities for food processing, transport, storage and logistics," Ms Simson said.

“Agriculture is key to Australia’s future prosperity.

"Our vision of a $100 billion industry is within reach if we get the economic, social and environmental policy settings right.

“Australia’s next wave of prosperity depends on the Federal Government continuing to back Australian agriculture and our regions with sensible, evidence-based policies,” Ms Simson said.

The NFF’s Pre-Budget Submission centres on seven key themes and makes 60 detailed recommendations. See a summary of these recommendations below.

1. Accelerated Productivity

Seed funding of at least $250,000 to establish a voluntary Agricultural Data Code of Practice.

The establishment of a Chief Digital Agriculture Officer to assist farmers to best take advantage of new technologies.

$5 million over three years for a Telecommunications Innovation Pilot Project to grow digital literacy and foster technology applications in rural and remote Australia.

2. Connectivity

$180 million ($60 million per round) to Rounds 4, 5 and 6 of the Mobile Blackspots Program, consistent with the funding for previous rounds.

The establishment of a Rural Regional and Remote Telecommunications Research Fund as a long-term outcome of Telecommunications Universal Service Obligation reform.

3. Trade Liberalisation & Market Access

The expansion of the Agricultural Counsellor network as new trade agreements are negotiated.

The establishment of a 'Special Trade Envoy' to provide a farmer’s perspective to international trade negotiations, to advocate for trade liberalisation domestically and to build partnerships with other farming groups across the globe.

4. World Class Infrastructure

A minimum of $1 billion dollars to establish an infrastructure fund to improve regional roads and rail in a bid to make export pathways more efficient.

Adequate resources to facilitate consultation with landowners about route selection, land acquisition and construction in regards to the development of the Brisbane to Melbourne Inland Rail.

$5 million for a full feasibility study and a go-to market investment strategy for the Food Precinct to be developed around the Greater Western Sydney Airport.

5. Sustainable Stewardship

A commitment to genuine EPBC Act reform and the exploration of the potential for the greater use of non-regulatory approaches that recognise the contributions farmers make towards meeting biodiversity objectives.

The acceleration of a national system of innovation in biosecurity by committing to Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity recommendations including: a $25 million National Biosecurity Innovation Program and the increasing of funding appropriation for research and development corporations by $2 million annually for a new cross-sectoral biosecurity R&I coordination and investment function for the RDCs.

6. Human Talent

Funding for a comprehensive and regular analysis of the persistent labour shortages in the sector with a view to framing a dedicated agricultural visa which will address those needs.

Investment in a number of initiatives to better educate school children about where their food and fibre comes from, including $100,000 per year for the Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia.

Seed funding to cover the initial year of operation of a Seasonal Worker Program Administration Fund, of which employees could access to fund their travel to Australia. Employers would then deduct periodic amounts from employee’s wages to cover the cost of travel and pay these amounts back into the SWP Administration Fund.

7. Flexible Business Tools

A commitment to work with the States and Territories to abolish stamp duties on crop and livestock insurance products.

#SaveTheWriteOff: End the yearly budget uncertainty for small business and extend the current instant asset write off for small businesses in perpetuity. Currently this arrangement expires on 30 June 2018.

The retention of fuel tax credits across all sectors.

Reforms to make farm management deposits more effective: incentives to improve the availability of FMD interest offset facilities; allow FMDs to be held at the business level rather than just the individual level; and permit FMDs to be brought back into a business over time or be taxed at average rates in the event of unexpected cessation or death.

A review of tax zone rebates and remote area fringe benefit tax (FBT) concessions: Investigate whether current arrangements to compensate individuals for the disadvantages of living in remote areas can be made more effective

Media Enquiries: Laureta Wallace
E
P 0408 448 250

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