The NSW Farmers’ Association has commended the NSW government for “a budget that has delivered for regional and rural communities, in challenging times due to drought conditions across most of the state”.
President Derek Schoen said the association had worked closely with the government to establish the parameters of the $250 million Farm Innovation Fund.
“The fund is a welcome and sensible way to assist farmers, regional communities and the broader agricultural sector through this time of drought, while maintaining productivity and sustainability,” Mr Schoen said.
“The availability of $50,000 interest-free loans over seven years will provide some financial assistance to farmers, who are trying to navigate their way through these drought conditions.”
NSW Farmers had been advocating for better weather forecasting through the funding of three new Doppler radars.
“The $24.4m investment in three Doppler radars will enable significantly improved day-to-day on-farm management, and improve farmers’ access to finance and insurance, by reducing risks associated with weather and climate,” Mr Schoen said.
“Forty million dollars to ensure that the Cobb and Silver City Highways are fully sealed is a welcome investment.
“This work, along with the funding for more overtaking lanes on the Newell Highway, will contribute to improved freight productivity.”
Mr Schoen said, however, the association wanted more done in coming months to remove pinch-points on major regional roads “to increase access by high-productivity vehicles across the rural network”.
The breakdown from NSW Farmers’ point of view:
We pushed for and got:
- Ongoing commitment to digital connectivity with $20 million for eliminating mobile black-spots, and $9 million for improving digital infrastructure in the bush
- Additional commitment to health infrastructure, and community & clinical services, particularly the $40 million for multipurpose service centres
- Continuing and additional funding for the quad bike safety program
- Stamp duty exemptions for various forms of cropping insurance
- $50 million for the network of research stations
- LLS Budget increase, meaning more money for supporting farming communities
- Increasing the threshold for payroll tax rebates ($87m) via the Small Business Employment Incentive Scheme ($750,000 up to $1m)
- $23.2 million to fund water management reforms
- $44.7 million for regional industry education partnerships
- $7 million for local councils for crown land management
- $4 million for the “one click energy switch” program
We look forward to:
- The LLS and DPI ensuring resources are allocated to the rollout of the new biosecurity regime
- The proposed Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund ($4.154b), which could provide the catalyst of creating internationally competitive freight and logistics networks
- The government’s commitment to digital and mobile connectivity through universal access to 3G and 4G networks