HOW has the 2014 budget hit the Australian agricultural sector? Here's a breakdown of the main points:
Budget spending measures for agriculture:
- $320 million over four years in drought support measures including; $280 million in concessional loans; $12 million to assist drought affected farm businesses with installing water-related infrastructure; $10 million to assist farm businesses manage the impacts of pest animals in drought affected areas; and $10.7 million over two years to enhance access to social and mental health services
- $100 million over four years for a competitive grants program to deliver cutting-edge technology and applied research, with an emphasis on making the results accessible to farmers
- $20 million over four years for a stronger biosecurity and quarantine system that will enable early response to import and export related biosecurity issues, strengthen systems and capabilities to contain biosecurity incursions and focus on improvements to the import risk analysis process
- $15 million over four years to support small exporters with export costs
- $8 million over four years to improve access to and registration of agricultural and veterinary chemicals
Major savings measures
- National Landcare Program created via merger of Caring for our Country and Landcare at cost of $1 billion over four years, saving $483.8 million over five years.
- Closing the National Water Commission in December 2014, saving $20.9 million over four years.
- Terminating the Office of Water Science research program on June 30 2016, saving $10 million over five years.
- Cutting Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation funding by $11 million over four years from 2014-15.
- Improving efficiency within the Bureau of Meteorology to save $10 million over four years.
Other agriculture cuts
- Cutting $1.8 million over three years from 2015-16 from the Agriculture Advancing Australia — International Agricultural Cooperation Program.
- Ceasing the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy Program from July 1 2015 to save $3.3 million over three years.
- Ceasing payments to the States for the Exotic Diseases Preparedness Program on July 1 2014 to save $1.8 million over four years.
- Ceasing the Leveraging Australia’s Brand for Food Program to save $1.1 million over three years from 2014-15.
- Ceasing the Live Animal Exports — Business Assistance — improved supply chains and Official Development Assistance (Improved Animal Welfare Program) one year early on June 30, 2014 to save $2.3 million.
- Changing arrangements for the payments of memberships to international commodity organization to save $7 million over four years.