THE agricultural sector will reap a budget bonus of $600 million, with a focus on cutting red tape for farmers looking to export, carbon farming and biosecurity.
An envelope of $267 million will be used to reduce export costs and delays and to facilitate international competition for agricultural businesses.
As part of the funding, $80 million will be provided to small and medium export businesses affected by the pandemic to restore their presence in overseas markets, while $187 million will be used to simplify and streamline the trade process.
More than $61 million will be used to strengthen the country’s northern biosecurity frontier, which the government announced last week in Darwin.
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Lumpy skin disease, African swine fever and other vector-borne animal diseases have been identified in close neighbours, and there is growing concern that natural pathways – such as cyclones or migrating birds – could bring disease-carrying insects in the north of the country.
The government estimates that the threat of lumpy skin disease is so imminent that it is committing $15 million to prepare industries to respond to a possible outbreak.
Japanese encephalitis (JEV) was recently discovered in Australia and is believed to be transmitted through natural routes. The government has committed $69 million to respond to the emergence of the virus, which is carried by mosquitoes and can infect humans via pigs and waterfowl.
As part of the funding, $10 million will be invested to help state and territory departments of agriculture undertake necessary JEV surveillance and control activities.
Producers will be supported to improve their on-farm biosecurity, through a three-year, $20.1 million grant program, with a particular focus on incentivizing the adoption of livestock traceability.
Farmers will be encouraged to undertake carbon projects, with $27.2 million over the next 11 years to fill gaps in the voluntary biodiversity market, based on lessons learned from the government’s biodiversity management pilot project .
The funding will be used to simplify farmer and buyer participation, while providing on-the-ground support to natural resource management organizations.
An expanded national stewardship trading platform will facilitate trade, and improved baseline biodiversity data will help farmers and buyers trade with confidence.
The government will reduce tax on income from Australian carbon credit units and biosafety certifications by reclassifying profits from off-farm income as farm income, which is expected to save primary producers $100 million over the next four months. coming years.
A second round of support grants, worth $15.4 million, will be available for agricultural shows that have been devastated by the pandemic, most of which have been canceled two years in a row.
Major agricultural trade events will be sponsored with an investment of $12 million, including $6 million already committed to the Beef 2024 event.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the government’s commitment will help the agricultural sector move closer to its goal of being a $100 billion industry by 2030.
“Our government has a long history of supporting Australian farmers,” Mr Littleproud said.
“We are putting our money where our mouth is, supporting new programs so farmers can capitalize on export success, prepare for the tough times ahead, and stand at the center of prosperity and growth across the country. country.
Littleproud said the government was preparing the country’s farmers for future challenges, with $84.5 million committed to drought resilience programs over the next four years, details of which will be released next week.
Over the next four years, $23.4 million will be invested in plant breeding and agricultural agri-chemical innovation and commercialization.
“Innovation is driving the next wave of agricultural productivity,” said Littleproud.
“To unlock the potential of Australian agriculture, we are putting in place parameters to encourage innovation.”
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