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2021 Budget Highlights

By May 14, 2021 No Comments

The Federal Budget increases direct spending within the agriculture related portfolios by $850 million. This comes after an increase of $1.27 billion in the October 2020 budget.

  • $8.4 million to improve collection, analysis and forecasting of agricultural labour force data.
  • $3.6 million for Fair Farms program to promote fair employment practices in horticulture.
  • $198.2 million to support Australian export businesses by increasing Australia’s presence at the WTO, and advocacy and coalition building on international trade matters with likeminded countries.
  • $371 million over four years for Australia’s biosecurity

A more detailed breakdown of the budget and its announcements for Australian agriculture is below –

Workforce

  • $10.1 million for a pilot AgUP program to co-fund industry initiatives that build skills and enhance career pathways in farming.
  • $8.4 million to improve collection, analysis and forecasting of agricultural labour force data.
  • $5.3 million for AgCAREERSTART program to incentivise school leavers to undertake farm placements.
  • $3.6 million for Fair Farms program to promote fair employment practices in horticulture.
  • $1.3 million in R&D into attraction and retention of agricultural workers.
  • $1 million to develop resources for farmers to implement modern workplace practices.
  • $285 million for stronger skills for skills reform to establish 15 industry-owned Skills Enterprises (agriculture being one industry).

Trade

  • $198.2 million to support Australian export businesses by increasing Australia’s presence at the WTO, and advocacy and coalition building on international trade matters with likeminded countries.
  • The Federal Government has provided an additional $15 million to increase the Australian presence in international standard setting bodies, such as the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, to put forward the Australian position on matters relating to animal welfare, sustainability, and ag-vet chemicals.
  • $38.1 million has been provided to continue building the partnership with Indonesia under the Regional Cooperation Arrangements (security focussed but has trade implications).
  • $37.4 million over three years to modernise Australia’s trade systems to improve cost and efficiency.

Biosecurity

  • $96.9 million to management of hitchhiker cargo pest through ports
  • $67.4 million to improving Australia’s preparedness and response capabilities
  • $58.6 million to measures to prevent African swine fever through increased frontline screening
  • $25.5 million to modern technologies to speed the early detection of pest and disease
  • $96.8 million to early detection technologies and processes beginning offshore
  • $31.2 million to increased screening of international mail including use of 3D X-ray technologies
  • $34.6 million to improve R&D and analytics to better understand how pests and disease enters Australia, and better field tools to detect them
  • $28.7 million to increased screening of international aircraft and non-commercial maritime arrivals
  • $19.5 million to investment in new screening technologies for people and goods at the border
  • $3.9 million to education and community awareness of biosecurity
  • A one-off $1.5 million payment to business case for improving cargo container risk
  • $29 million to programs, in conjunctions with state governments to eradicate pest animals

Infrastructure

  • Western Australia: A $1.3 billion transport package, including $160 million for upgrades of road and rail lines servicing WA.
  • A further $256.5 million has been allocated to the Building Better Regions Fund for local regional infrastructure.
  • $189.6 million over five years for a Northern Australia Plan.
  • An additional $28.6 million for the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.
  • $6.1 million over two years to establish the Rebuilding Regional Communities

Ag-vet chemicals

  • $9 million to extend the Improved Access to Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals program to help farmers to gain improved access to safe and effective agricultural and veterinary chemicals.

Soil Carbon

  • $102 million over two years to incentivise farmers to increase soil testing and increase national capabilities and inventory of soils data.
  • $20.9 million for a National Soils Science Challenge funding research into understanding Australian soils.
  • $25 million for soils extension services for farmers, support for the National Soils Strategy, and roll out of accreditation standards to enhance education and expertise.
  • The remainder of $59.6 million funding coming from the Industry, Science, Energy and Resources portfolio to develop low-cost social carbon measurement mechanisms.

Water

  • $3.5 million for the ACCC to establish an expert panel on water market reform roadmap.

Environment

  • Pilot project on stewardship for high value native vegetation, $22.3 million ($45.6 over ten years
  • Biodiversity certification scheme additional $5.4 million
  • Standardised measurement framework to support informed investment in natural capital $4.7 million
  • Development of a biodiversity trading platform, $4.4 million.

Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act

  • $17.1 million over two years to maintain Commonwealth assessment and approvals process during transition to the new approvals system
  • $9 million to establish an independent office for the Environment Assurance Commissioner, tasked with auditing and reviewing approval system.
  • $2.7 million over 2 years to pilot a Commonwealth accredited regional plan to support and accelerate development in a priority regional area.

Reducing food waste

  • $67 million to collect and convert organic waste into fertiliser.

Energy

  • $275.5 million for regional hydrogen hubs, exploring options to set up hydrogen productions hubs throughout regional Australia, and clean hydrogen certification schemes.
  • $30 million for microgrid initiatives in the Northern Territory.

Agriculture Innovation

  • $4.2 million for Australia’s agricultural innovation system through the National Agricultural Innovation Agenda, including the development of strategies for forward investment into four National Agricultural Innovation Priorities (not new money a reprioritisation)
  • $12 million over five years for co-funded grants to support AI capabilities in regional areas.

Regional Connectivity

  • $84.8 million over two years for the Regional Connectivity Program to support delivery of digital services to the regions.
  • $68.5 million over 2 years to deliver targeted digital connectivity solutions in Northern Australia through dedicated funding under the Regional Connectivity Program and the Mobile Black Spot Program.

Natural Disasters

  • $600 million for the National Recovery and Resilience Agency for disaster measures after the initial clean up phase.

Resilience and preparedness

  • Extension of on-farm emergency water scheme by a further year ($25 million).
  • $210 million for BOM, CSIRO, ABS and Geoscience Australia for climate services.

Financial resilience and viability

  • $5.4 million to fund projects to improve price transparency in food and fibre supply chains.
  • Additional $8.5 million for Rural Financial Counselling Services.
  • Access for forestry to RIC loans via the Plantation Development Concessional Loans (not new funding).

SOURCE: Ausveg