Share
Preview
The week's news and insights from the National Farmers' Federation
 
Visit us online:  NFF Media Centre  |  FarmHub  |  AustralianFarmers
 
Welcome to the NFF’s Weekly Wrap, bringing you the week’s farming and political news each Friday.
Budget highlights
This week, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg handed down the 2020-2021 Federal Budget. Australian agriculture was identified as a core pillar of this year's Budget, with the Government reiterating its support for the NFF's $100 billion 2030 target, despite the challenges of COVID-19.

Highlights include:
Funding for agricultural labour incentives
The Budget includes several measures aimed at addressing crippling labour shortages facing agriculture. These include:
  • one-off grants of up to $6,000 to cover workers' relocation costs;
  • fast-tracked access to Youth Allowance and ABSTUDY for young Australians who earn $15,000 from farm work before the end of 2021;
  • waivers of visa application fees - including for backpackers and seasonal workers; and,
  • a new JobMaker Hiring Credit, providing up to $200 per week for employers who hire young out-of-work Australians.
Emergency Water Infrastructure Scheme thrown a lifeline
Following strong advocacy from the NFF and its members, the Government has directed an additional $50 million to the program’s second tranche (after initial reports of the Scheme being discontinued).

$2 billion top-up for water infrastructure fund
The Budget confirmed the scrapping of the loans facility for National Water Infrastructure. Instead, $2 billion has been added to the kitty for the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund - taking the total of that fund (used to build dams and other water infrastructure) to $3.5 billion.

Food-focussed manufacturing in the spotlight
As announced last week, the Budget confirms $1.5 billion will be used to boost local manufacturing in 6 priority areas - including food and beverages. This has been welcomed by industry following calls for investment in local value adding.

Investment to modernise export processes
$328 million has been earmarked to modernise Australia's export processes, by moving exporters into a new digital system and removing red tape. Exports will be further aided by $317 million to continue subsidised air freight for agricultural exports, as the pandemic disrupts passenger flights.

Drought remains in focus
To help with the ongoing recovery from recent flood and drought events, $19.6 million was announced to extend the drought function of the National Drought and North Queensland Flood Response and Recovery Agency.

 
 
Weekly insight
Australia's debt spirals
The positive response this Budget has received from most stakeholders does come at a cost. Forecasts for Australia’s net debt predict a total of $703.2 billion for 2020-21, increasing to a staggering $966.2 billion in 2023-24.
Source: Budget, 2020
 
Don't keep this newsletter to yourself.
Share it on, and encourage others to sign up!
 
Briefing
Budget backs the bush to get Australia growing

The National Farmers' Federation has argued strongly in recent months that regional Australia must be central to any plans for economic recovery.

NFF President Fiona Simson told the National Press Club in July that now was the time to leverage Australia's economic strengths, and double down on sectors like agriculture that stood ready to deliver growth.

A coordinated effort by industry ensured that the Commonwealth was regularly updated on issues facing the agricultural supply chain, and provided with solutions - such as those outlined in the NFF's Get Australia Growing economic recovery plan.

Tuesday's Budget has shown us the Government is listening.

In a political climate that could have seen the regions overlooked for the COVID hotspots in our major cities, the Budget lays down pragmatic responses to the challenges the farm sector faces right now, while laying the groundwork for our future opportunities.

Framed through the lens of the bipartisan goal to reach $100 billion in farm gate output by 2030, the Government has chosen consistency despite the significant headwinds of 2020.

The Government's efforts on labour in this budget should be commended. A genuine crisis is looming as we scramble to plug the gap left by overseas farm workers. The measures in this Budget demonstrate a willingness by Government to adopt the suggestions of industry as we try and solve an old problem which has just become far more pressing.

Likewise, the plan to stimulate new local manufacturing jobs is long overdue. COVID has exposed how anaemic our local processing of farm inputs and outputs has become. The $1.5 billion manufacturing package - which includes a focus on food - will start to revisit what's possible utilising advanced manufacturing technologies.

Coupled with announcements from the Deputy Prime Minister, such as the new Regional Recovery Partnerships, the renewed focus on manufacturing could create a genuine opportunity for regional economies to diversify in the wake of COVID-19.

As we've been saying since this crisis began: the road to recovery begins in the bush. There is huge potential in the farm sector and across regional Australia to brace the national economy - just as we succeeded in doing during the GFC.

This Budget sets us up with a reasonable chance of doing that once again.




Quote of the week
“The job of the government is to put the environment and infrastructure around its people, and then get the hell out of the way.”

- MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, HON DAVID LITTLEPROUD MP.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sent by the National Farmers' Federation, NFF House, 14-16 Brisbane Avenue, Barton ACT 2600
 
 


Email Marketing by ActiveCampaign