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Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper Released

The Abbott Government released the ‘Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper: ‘Stronger Farmers, Stronger Economy’ on 4 July 2015, laying the foundation for a stronger agricultural sector to contribute to Australia’s economic growth.

The Government’s $4 billion investment aims to grow Australian Agriculture by reducing regulation, reforming taxation, increasing export market access and developing Northern Australia. The White Paper outlines the Government’s commitment to strengthen regional communities by supporting businesses to innovate, create jobs and deliver better local services.

CapitalHill Advisory attended Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce’s address at the National Press Club on Monday 6 July 2015, where he gave some insights into the importance of empowering the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Northern Australia as a critical region to drive export growth and market access and positioning Australia as a source of premium product.

To deliver the commitments outlined in the White Paper, and focusing on five key priority areas, the Government will:

Support for farmers and a fair go for their business

  • Invest $11.4 million to boost ACCC engagement within the sector by appointing a new agricultural commissioner
  • Streamline the approvals for new agricultural and veterinary chemicals
  • Support Productivity commission inquiries into red tape and regulation
  • Provide immediate tax deductions for new fencing
  • Increase the deposit limit for FMDs and allowing them to be used as farm business loan offsets’
  • Establish a Food and Grocery Code of Conduct and Mandatory Port Access Code of Conduct for Grain Export Terminals
  • Improve country of origin labelling

Drought management strategy

  • Provide immediate Tax deductions for new water infrastructure and for new on-farm fodder storage assets
  • Up to $250 million a year in drought concessional loans for 11 years
  • Additional resources for Rural Financial Counselling Service providers
  • Mental health and community support services
  • $25.8 million to help manage pest animals and weeds in drought areas
  • Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) will receive $3.3 million to produce improved seasonal forecasts from early 2017
  • Reduce GHG emissions by 5% below 2000 levels by 2020, helping to mitigate future climate risks

Infrastructure development investment

  • Allocate $500 million for national water infrastructure
  • $1 million to expand CSIROs Transport Network Strategic Investment Tool (TRANSIT)
  • Further $60 million for mobile black spots, improving mobile coverage across regional Australia
  • Furthering the NBN rollout
  • $50 billion for road and rail improvements

Advanced technologies and practices to improve efficiency and profitability

  • Provide a further $100 million to extend the Rural Research and Development for Profit programme to 2021-22
  • An additional $1.2 million in funding for the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation to support micro industries
  • $50 million to strengthen emergency pest and disease eradication and national response capability
  • $1.4 million in research funding to match industry levies in fodder and tea tree oil industries

Accessing premium overseas markets

  • Allocate $30.8 million to break down technical barriers to trade, including introducing five new agricultural counsellors
  • $200 million to improve biosecurity surveillance and analysis
  • $12.4 million to modernise Australia’s traceability systems, strengthening produce integrity and securing access to overseas markets through guarantee of a quality product
  • Introduce the Biosecurity Act 2015 as a modernised update to replace the Quarantine Act 1908
  • Free Trade Agreements with East Asia, as well as on-going negotiations with the TPP

Further Information

To download the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, click here.

To read the Minister’s announcement, click here.

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