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Government asked for practical help in energy transition: NSW Farmers

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NSW Farmers’ Association, Media Release, 5 September 2022

The state’s peak farming group says there is a clear opportunity for the federal government to help businesses transition to cleaner vehicles.

NSW Farmers Business, Economics and Trade Committee chair John Lowe said targeted extension of the instant asset write off could be used to encourage farmers and other rural business owners to purchase more modern, energy efficient equipment.

“Farmers have a lot of expensive equipment with long lifespans that they use to produce food and fibre,” Mr Lowe said.

“If the federal government wants them to adopt low emissions technology, they should be incentivising them to upgrade by providing accelerated depreciation, or targeted instant asset write offs.

“However, we need to make sure any of these schemes are practical and affordable, designed with industry to ensure maximum benefit for both the environment and productive business.”

Mr Lowe said without an existing alternative to diesel for food and fibre production, Australia needed to ensure the transition was done in an orderly way.

“I know there are some who want to scrap the fuel excise tax credit for off-road use, but at the moment there are no economically-viable options for electric tractors or hydrogen-powered utes,” Mr Lowe said.

“With everyone feeling the pinch at the moment, the last thing we need are policies that drive up the cost of production and leave everyone worse off.

“Farmers tell us they’re keen to do their bit in adopting new technologies, but until they’re available we need to find ways to reduce pollution without reducing our ability to feed ourselves.”

Incentivising the renewal of the agricultural fleet with more efficient vehicles not only made good sense, Mr Lowe said, it would be good policy going forward, and he urged the government to work with farmers to find practical, affordable ways forward.

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