​Media Release

Ag white paper delivers opportunities for NSW producers

8 July 2015​

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, today joined Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Member for Riverina, Michael McCormack, to examine the local benefits of the $4 billion Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper on a farm near Wagga Wagga.

Minister Joyce said the long-term benefits of the Australian Government’s investment were clear.

“We are investing in up to $250 million in Drought Concessional Loans each year for the next 11 years, $500 million in a National Water Infrastructure Fund, $200 million to improve biosecurity surveillance and analysis and $100 million to extend the Rural R&D for Profit Programme until 2021-22,” Minister Joyce said.

“Other initiatives in this White Paper include the new ACCC Agricultural Enforcement and Engagement Unit and dedicated Commissioner that starts this year, allowing farmers to use Farm Management Deposits as a loan offset from 2016 and revised accelerated depreciation regimes for water, fodder storage and fencing that are already available.”

Parliamentary Secretary McCormack said the long term benefits for Riverina farmers in the White Paper were clear.

“The White Paper delivers a policy approach that aims to give all farmers a fair go and a fair price—nothing could be more valuable to my electorate,” Parliamentary Secretary McCormack said.

“The investment of $11.4 million will boost ACCC engagement with the agricultural sector to strengthen competition and address any misuse of market power.

“There is an investment of $13.8 million in a two-year pilot programme to provide farmers with knowledge and materials on cooperatives, collective bargaining and innovative business models.

“What this government is doing is making sure that farmers have the skills to protect their interests and maximise their profits.”

Minister Joyce said the White Paper measures would assist everyone in regional communities – suppliers, agribusiness, local business – as well as the nation’s economy.

“This White Paper is about better returns to the farmgate and taking practical actions to keep farming families profitable and resilient. It’s also about keeping regional Australia strong and vibrant and creating well-paying jobs in agriculture—one of the reasons we’re looking to move the Grains Research and Development Corporation outside of Canberra, possibly to Wagga Wagga.

“When done strategically, to better locate agencies to sit within the communities they serve, the outcomes of decentralisation are there for all to see,” Minister Joyce said.

The White Paper was informed by comprehensive stakeholder consultation – more than 1000 submissions were receive and the government talked face-to-face with more than 1100 people across the country in developing the document.

The White Paper is available at agwhitepaper.agriculture.gov.au​.