“Measured and forward looking” is how AgFroce is describing this week’s Federal Budget, with, it says, some good investments in key priority areas for Queensland broadacre primary producers.
AgForce CEO Michael Guerin says there’s some good wins.
“AgForce had been calling for a national regional infrastructure fund so we were pleased to see the Federal Budget include a Roads of Strategic Importance initiative with $1.5 billion to upgrade key freight corridors in northern Australia, as well as a new round of the Building Better Regions Fund.”
“Transport is one of the biggest costs for primary producers so we are always keen to see infrastructure investment that makes it safer, easier and cheaper to get our goods to market.”
“It was also great to see a boost for biosecurity, funding for improved global positioning satellite (GPS) technology, investment in trade promotion and the extension of the $20,000 instant asset write-off for a further 12 months.”
Mr Guerin says AgForce also welcomes additional funding for mental health support, including for the Royal Flying Doctor Service, but would have liked to have seen more assistance for Queensland communities and producers facing their sixth year of drought.
He says however, the organization is disappointed there has been no new commitment to further address mobile phone black spots as the need for better telecommunications is one of the biggest issues for people living and working in the bush.
“Phone and internet services are an economic and social lifeline for regional, rural and remote Queenslanders and need to be more reliable and more affordable.”
“Overall, this Budget will certainly deliver some good benefits and outcomes for Queensland agriculture, particularly over the long term, but it does ignore some of the immediate challenges confronting our rural communities.”
“Agriculture remains the fastest growing industry in Australia and one in seven jobs in Queensland was either partially or entirely supported by the food sector so an investment in agriculture was an investment in the nation’s future.”