NEW South Wales Farmers has welcomed the State Government’s commitment to building stronger regions in the 2021-2022 State Budget, but is disappointed it didn’t include additional funding for farming and agricultural specific initiatives.
NSW Farmers President, James Jackson, said although the organisation was pleased to see investment in regional schools, hospitals and roads, it would have liked to see specific funding aimed at helping the agriculture industry become a $30 billion industry by 2030.
“The good news is this has been a regionally-focused Budget which will see country communities benefit with improved infrastructure and services,” Mr Jackson said.
“However, it would have been great to see more ag sector initiatives including funding for pest netting, development support to attract and retain young farmers and immediate workforce solutions,” he said.
Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall said the Budget does reflect the government’s commitment to the 2030 $30 billion target, through research, development and innovation funding.
“In our 2021-22 Budget there is more than $1 billion in recurrent and new spending to allow farmers to focus on farming while we support them through innovation, improved biosecurity and building resilience,” Mr Marshall said.
“We committed almost $64 million for the ‘Future Ready Regions’ strategy that will help farmers grow, thrive and plan for the future. We’re also investing to restart the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme, which will headline our future preparedness program, along with many more initiatives and investments,” he said.
“Technology continues to play an increasingly important role on-farm and $19 million will ensure the continued upskilling and training of current and future farmers,” he said.
“We are committed to growing our ag industry to be worth $30 billion by 2030 and research and development, and innovation are the keys to our success in achieving that goal,” said Mr Marshall.
Budget highlights for 2021-2022 include:
- $176.9 million to address biosecurity risks, including $35 million for fighting exotic biosecurity threats;
- $268.2 million (co-funded with the Commonwealth Government) in response to the NSW bushfire inquiry;
- $79.5m from the Regional Job Creation Fund to incentivise and attract business and job creation in regions;
- $50 million for mobile coverage;
- $374.5 million has been put towards building productive and sustainable agriculture and aquaculture;
- $47.9 million for the Farms of the Future Program;
- $40 million for Local Land Services initiatives;
- $72.5 million to help primary industries recover from floods
- $38.2 million for round two of the Commonwealth Government’s Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Program/drought preparedness;
- $262 million is invested in biosecurity, including pest and weed management;
- $150 million mouse plague package;
- $36.4 million for 57 mental health specialists for regional NSW.