Last night’s Federal Budget focused significantly on the environment, including carbon, biodiversity and broader landscape restoration, strengthening exports, maintaining biosecurity, developing regional infrastructure, and supporting the prosperity of regional Australia.
The area of Carbon, biodiversity, sustainability The ag sector will be able to benefit from several commitments
- Tax purposes can be applied to the proceeds from the sale Australian Carbon Credit Units and biodiversity certificates from on-farm activities.
- $100m commitment to Environment Restoration Fund, to support community-driven actions to protect and restore the natural environment over 3 years starting in 2022-2223
- The $52.5m Digital Environmental Assessments Program will lower the regulatory burdens associated to environmental assessment processes.
- Alongside Australia’s Long Term Emissions Reduction Plan, $247.1m has been committed over 5 years from 2021-22 across several carbon initiatives including the development of a Biodiversity Stewardship Trading Platform. This will enable farmers to take part in biodiversity activities, which will be more cost-effective than a voluntary biodiversity market. A further $148.6m is being invested in reliable, affordable power and the development and maintenance of community microgrids in rural and regional Australia.
- $83m funding for up to 5 years from 2022-23 targeted at accelerating plastics recycling technology and capabilities will support the development of Australia’s circular waste economy.
- Additional $1 billion over 9 years from 2021-22 to strengthen Australia’s stewardship and leadership in the protection of the Great Barrier Reef, with $579.9m specifically focused on water quality improvement and working with land managers to reduce nutrient and pesticide run-off and landscape remediation.
- An additional $139.9 million will be invested in the Murray-Darling Basin over three years, starting in 2021-22, to ensure a sustainable Murray-Darling Basin. This will include improving river health and environmental water outcomes. It will also stimulate economic activity in Basin communities.
- $139.6m over 4 Years from 2022-23 in order to advance Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act reforms.
A $267.1m trade modernisation package will improve the sector’s competitiveness in international markets. Small and medium exporters of agricultural products will be able to re-establish themselves in overseas markets with the $80m grant.
The Budget focuses on protecting Australian agricultural from biosecurity threats like lumpy skin diseases and improving on farm biosecurity such as reducing the impact on pests and other weeds. $135.6m has been allocated over five years. This includes $61.6m over four years from 2022-2223 to fund Northern Australia’s biosecurity improvement and $20.1m for support to adopt livestock traceability reforms. These funds are available through 3-year grant programs.
Flood resilience and drought resistance
The government is taking practical steps to increase farmer resilience. The Future Drought Fund has allocated an additional $84.5m over four years, with $100m per year spending. This money is intended to improve drought readiness and resilience in Australian farmers and communities. To support farmers’ recovery from the 2022 Floods in New South Wales and Queensland, the On-farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme will be extended to 30 June 2023.
This Budget is very focused on regional Australia. The major item is a $5.4 Billion Guarantee to Build the Hells Gate Dam, located in the Upper Burdekin Catchment of North Queensland. This dam will be the largest in Queensland and allow for irrigation on 60,000 hectares. Paradise Dam and Dungowan Dam will be further invested. The $2 billion Regional Accelerator Program will benefit the agriculture sector. It will increase skills, education, and supply chains within key agricultural regions. A further $811.8m has been allocated to improve mobile phone coverage in the bush. Additionally, $27.4m was committed over the next 2 years to promote large agricultural trade events and agricultural shows.
Forestry and Fisheries
These sectors will receive $114.6m over 5 Years from 2021-22. The funds will be used by the industries to address emerging challenges like wood supply security and long-term sustainability.
- Additional $328.3m in 5 years from 2021-22, to support the Modern Manufacturing Strategy.
- The government will amend Australia’s foreign investment framework to reduce the regulatory burden faced by investors and support Australia’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic which will directly benefit the Agribusiness sector.
Budget support for the meat industry is welcome
The Australian Meat Industry Council welcomed last night’s Federal Budget, which delivered on several areas for the meat supply chain as it continues to recover from the events over the past two years.
The budget provided funding commitments for key issues in the meat supply chain such as small business, apprenticeships and training, small manufacturing and supply, traceability of biosecurity, trade logistics, and traceability. The budget also invests more than $600 million in Australian agriculture, as part of the MorrisonJoyce Governments plan for a stronger future.
Investing in the workforce
AMIC welcomed the government’s spending boost on the National Skills Agreement and a generous incentive program for apprenticeships to support our industry with ongoing workforce shortage issues. This includes:
- $2.8 billion to upskill apprentices in 5 years under a new incentive program
- Increase of $3.7 billion under the National Skills Agreement
- Expanding access for trade support loans
Patrick Hutchinson CEO of AMIC said that the Australian meat industry is experiencing a national shortage of workers. It is currently affecting our meat supply chain in significant ways.
The significant funding for national apprenticeship programs and skills training is welcomed by our industry. These programs are designed to support and achieve a skilled, stable, and permanent workforce.
AMIC represents 1400 small-medium business owners, including independent local butchers, wholesalers and SME manufacturers (smallgoods or meat manufacturers).
AMIC supports small business budget commitments, which include:
- Small businesses that have an annual turnover below $50 million will receive a 20% tax deduction for employee training by registered providers
- $1 billion technology investment boost for small businesses to support them to go digital. A $120 tax deduction per 100 spent on investments upto $100k per year
Small businesses and SMEs are a significant part of the meat supply chain. Mr Hutchinson stated that 20 percent of Australia’s total meat sales are made by independent butchers.
These initiatives will streamline this section in a time of fragility in supply chains, such as the Omicron impact on food supply in January 2022.
AMIC welcomed the additional $1 billion investment to the current $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy; which includes an additional $750 million into the Modern Manufacturing Initiative; and $200 million to strengthen supply chain resilience under the Regional Accelerator Program – which prioritises investment in critical areas including the food and agribusiness sectors.
Mr Hutchinson stated that increased investment in the Manufacturing Strategy reflects the importance of meat processing in ensuring food security as well as underpinning agricultural production.
We look forward for the details about the investment into supply chain resilience and the implications this will have for our industry.
Biosecurity and traceability
AMIC welcomed the Morrison government’s commitment towards traceability and biosecurity. It received a $100m boost, which is very much needed.
Mr Hutchinson said traceability and biosecurity are fundamental to the Australian meat supply chain. This includes processors, manufacturers and retailers, as well as exporters and exporters.
Each dollar that the government invests in these areas brings multiple benefits to the Australian agricultural and manufacturing industries.
We welcome sustainable investment to reward stewardship to our suppliers, which are Australian beef, sheep, and goat farmers.
AMIC received $261.7 Million in funding to support the whole-ofgovernment Simplified Trade System reform agenda. This will increase Australian exports’ global competitiveness and make it easier for almost 200,000 Australian companies to trade.
Australia’s largest agricultural exporter, the meat sector continues to support the work of DFAT and the funding made available for issues such as the Australia-UK FTA implementation as well as modernising Australia’s export industry via the Simplified Trading System reform agenda. Mr Hutchinson said.
Mr Hutchinson stated that we must ensure that our supply chains are efficient at a time of increasing demand for our exports.
As long as everyone in our supply chain pulls in the same direction, the budget investments for road, rail, and port infrastructure will all go towards this goal.
Recent waterfront disputes could lead to investments not being realized to the disadvantage of Australia.
Australia’s largest agricultural exporter is the best place to invest in infrastructure.
AMIC’s pre-budget submission export areas
AMIC remains supportive of sections of this budget. According to the AMIC prebudget submission, it states there were missed opportunities support Australia’s largest agricultural exporter.
- $300m for the extension to mid-2023 of the International Freight assistance Mechanism (IFAM). This will provide exporters some assurance on airfreight while international border restrictions are removed. A new normal is being established.
- $70m in four-years for the continuation and expansion of the Busting Congestion initiative to freeze increases at the Australian Government export inspection fees and certification charges
- $60m plus an increase in the Average Staffing Level over four years, to double the Australian Government technical access negotiation capacity for Australian food exports.