​Media release

18 December 2014​

2014 – a year of achievement for Australian agriculture

The Coalition Government put forward a concrete plan to reinvigorate the agriculture sector before last year’s election and we are delivering on that plan, with comprehensive drought support, increased market access, cuts to red tape and stronger biosecurity measures just some of the Coalition’s first full year policy achievements.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said farmers, fishers and foresters played a critical role in building and sustaining the economy, particularly in many rural and regional communities across Australia that rely so heavily on these sectors.

“Ensuring the conditions are right for people to make a profit is how we can build a vibrant, innovative and competitive agriculture sector for Australia’s future,” Minister Joyce said.

“Australia needs all farm enterprises to thrive and prosper. We need increased returns for mum and dad farms as well as for those that are corporately owned.

“For the first ten months of this year, the value of live cattle exports has increased by 74 per cent and the value of live sheep exports has risen by 36 per cent than for the same time last year.

“Our drought package provides income assistance to those in financial hardship, with no cap on total programme funding. More than 4,400 people across Australia are now receiving Farm Household Allowance thanks to our common-sense changes to eligibility requirements, including a more generous $2.55 million net farm asset threshold to ensure farmers in genuine hardship can access support. Labor’s failed Transitional Farm Family Payment was so difficult to access that only 367 households qualified for assistance before the Coalition Government replaced it. 

“As Minister this year I have visited every state and territory – including the Torres Strait Islands – our northern most biosecurity defence zone. I have also undertaken trade visits to the Middle East and China accompanied by Australian agricultural industry representatives.

“When I became Agriculture Minister I had a clear focus – to deliver on our promises to people who deliver so much to our nation.

“We have covered a lot of ground in a year and I recognise that there is more to do. My priorities include finalising the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, making sure drought support is available to farmers who need it, and continuing the push to negotiate new and improved market access for our products overseas.

“Finally, and on behalf of my Parliamentary Secretary Senator Richard Colbeck, I wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas – and of course encourage everyone to celebrate this festive season with their favourite Aussie seafood, red meat, poultry or ham!” Minister Joyce said.

YEAR ONE ACHIEVEMENTS IN AGRICULTURE
Repealed the Carbon Tax to reduce electricity prices*DELIVERED
Introduced a comprehensive $320 million drought support packageDELIVERED
Introduced a $100 million Drought Recovery Loans Concessional SchemeDELIVERED
Reallocated the $420 million Farm Finance Concessional Loans Scheme to better respond to farm businesses in need*DELIVERED
Introduced a new Farm Household Allowance to replace Labor's failed Transitional Farm Family Payment DELIVERED
$100 million R&D funding to improve farmgate profits*DELIVERED
Signed Free Trade Agreements with three major agricultural trading partners: China, Japan and South Korea*DELIVERED
Improved market access and opened six new livestock export markets (Egypt, Bahrain, Iran, Cambodia, Thailand & Lebanon)*DELIVERED
Increase in live cattle exports (74 % higher)DELIVERED
Increase in live sheep exports (36 % higher)DELIVERED
Completed formal consultation on the Agricultural Competitiveness Green Paper *DELIVERED
Introduced and deployed the $20 million Biosecurity Rapid Response Team*DELIVERED
Introduced the Biosecurity Bill 2014, the largest biosecurity legislative overhaul in 100 yearsDELIVERED
Commenced an Import Risk Analysis review*DELIVERED
Established the Agricultural Industry Advisory Council*DELIVERED
Introduced the $15 million Package to Assist Small Exporters*DELIVERED
Allocated $8 million to improve access to AgVet chemicalsDELIVERED
Introduced $9 million fisheries package including a marine pest reviewDELIVERED
Tasmanian Fruit & Vegetable Taskforce*DELIVERED
Farm chemical reregistration reforms*DELIVERED
Agriculture in education programme*DELIVERED
Water Infrastructure Ministerial Working Group & Options PaperDELIVERED
Agricultural Finance ForumDELIVERED
Negotiated with banks to help relieve drought-stressed debtDELIVERED
Reduced red tape in the Department of Agriculture by $25 million DELIVERED

* denotes election commitment​