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Federal budget a missed opportunity: GrainGrowers

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GrainGrowers, Media Release, 15 May 2024

The federal budget is another missed opportunity to increase regional support through targeted agricultural investments directed at boosting the long-term profitability of grain farming communities.

GrainGrowers Chair Rhys Turton said while the budget delivers some positive initiatives, rural industry was looking for a “cost of production” budget to address some of the underlying pressures now being felt across the rural sector.

“While we welcome government support and investment in some key areas such as carbon and climate, trade and market access, freight and supply chains, and farm inputs, it is not at the level to make a significant difference to operational efficiencies.”

“Many of the key areas of investment simply need additional funding.”

Mr Turton said GrainGrowers welcomed the $63.8 million allocated to help agriculture address climate change.

“The funding is a worthwhile investment in helping to determine the industry approach to the issue. We are committed to working with the government and determining how this assistance can help growers understand their on-farm situation and access available tools to mitigate emissions.”

Mr Turton said budget drought funding would helping rural communities better prepare to manage drought and climate risks.

“With parts of Australia now experiencing extremely dry conditions, we look forward to see the targeted use of these funds to support producers in times of drought.”

Mr Turton said the investments in road maintenance and safety programs would provide critical funds to address a range of issues with the declining road network.

“The real problem however is that much of this funding is long term and while this is welcome, the state of our roads and bridges is such that we need investment now to prevent current issues from getting even worse.”

In the area of workforce, GrainGrowers views the budget announcements as a mixed bag.

“At a time when the agriculture sector has been labouring under worker shortages, further funding assistance for targeted programs is required. The $1m over two years to attract skilled agricultural graduates and minimal funding for the AgCAREERSTART pilot falls short of meaningful assistance to address this issue.”

Mr Turton said GrainGrowers would continue to work with government on issues of concern to the industry.

“While the government has not addressed all the issues identified in our pre-budget submission, we will continue to push for investments that can boost the productivity and profitability of the grain sector,” he said.

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