National Farmers' Federation

NFF outlines budget priorities

The upcoming 2016-2017 Federal Budget must seek to deliver the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper in full and commit to a range of longer-term bipartisan measures, so as to allow the Australian rural sector to perform to its full ability on the global market stage.
National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) President, Brent Finlay, said whilst industry was aware there were limited additional funds available from Government coffers, a commitment to delivery of the White Paper with no cost-reductions was crucial.
“We understand there will be limited short-term cash to put on the table and that $4 billion was allocated to develop the White Paper but the roadmap of practical actions to grow the agriculture industry must be rolled out in full,” Mr Finlay said.
“To not follow through with delivery would be a wasted opportunity to drive growth in the agriculture sector.”
Mr Finlay said there must also be commitments that stand the bipartisan test and contribute to the long-term robustness and profitability of the sector, including trade, workforce, research and development (R&D), innovation and climate change.
Specific measures sought by the NFF include:
• Additional agricultural counsellors in key markets, to help overcome trade barriers;
• Commitment to the Inland Rail and a strategic infrastructure projects fund;
• No change to the fuel tax excise scheme;
• Extension of the Mobile Blackspot Programme;
• Reform of the ‘backpacker tax’ and the Seasonal Worker Program;
• Advancing on-farm energy efficiency through rebates for audits, upgrades and online energy use calculators;
• Ongoing funding for the National Farm Injury Data Centre; and
• Facilitation of public private sector partnerships to boost investment in agriculture.
“Agriculture is one of the drivers of the Australian economy with potential to significantly increase this contribution as demand for our product grows, but to do this we must be able to maintain and build our competitive advantage,” Mr Finlay said.
“We look to Government to make sensible, measured investments that can lift agricultural productivity and enhance the long-term resilience of the sector.”

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