News and Views

Business as usual Budget

The NSW State Budget continues the roll out of the NSW Government’s existing commitments to regional NSW, but lacks any new big announcements for the agricultural sector.

“What we’ve seen in this Budget is a lot of re-packaging of existing initiatives. We understand that the Government is probably keeping its powder dry before 2018’s pre-election budget. Nevertheless we will continue to keep the pressure up on all of the issues that matter to primary producers,” NSW Farmers’ President, Derek Schoen said.

NSW Farmers welcomes the $182 million allocated to Local Land Services, including an allocation of $20 million for the roll out of biodiversity reforms.

“Fully funding the biodiversity package rollout is a priority – Local Land Services will get one shot to get this roll out right and gain credibility amongst farmers.

“Young farmers are some of the very best early adopters of technology and innovation so we applaud the Government backing them with a $6 million Young Farmer Program to help young farmers improve long term financial resilience and build capability and capacity,” Mr Schoen said.

The Association also welcomes the Government’s commitments:

  • Removing stamp duty from crop and livestock insurance from 1 January 2018.
  • Additional spend on health with $86 million towards building new hospitals at Macksville, Maitland, Mudgee and Tweed and an extra five rural generalist training positions.
  • $38 million for new fire tankers to fight fires across the State.

“We welcome the Government’s continuing commitment to regional transport infrastructure, for example $35 million for the Berry to Bomaderry by-pass, however, we seek a broader vision including full supply chain modelling to transform the productivity of the agricultural sector,” Mr Schoen said.

“We’ve been calling for $3 million for retrofitting dairy underpasses so that stock can safely move to and from the dairy. We were disappointed not to see this in the Budget.

“The Government’s Budget response to the looming electricity affordability and reliability challenge was also disappointing. While we welcome the roll out of the Clean Energy Fund, with $119 million funding to help bolster the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, more resources need to be dedicated to support the structural reforms occurring within energy markets.

“NSW Farmers has been assured more projects are in the pipeline for farmers. We’ll make sure the Government keeps this promise,” Mr Schoen concluded.

Source: NSW Farmers

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