​​Media release 

Growing Australia’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry

9 May 2017

  • The 2017–18 Budget is an over $ 4.1 billion investment in the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors to underpin their continued growth and profitability
  • Key initiatives include over $1 billion for Landcare and establishing the Regional Investment Corporation
  • Support for farming families is demonstrated through the delivery of all election commitments
The 2017–18 Budget locks in and delivers on all of the Coalition Government’s election commitments designed to achieve better returns at the farmgate and a fairer go for those working in the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors, doubling the investment of the previous government.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the Budget centrepieces for the sector include:
  • the establishment of a $4 billion Regional Investment Corporation; 
  • delivering over $1 billion for the National Landcare Program;
  • $8.3 million to support the livestock export industry; and
  • expanding concessional loans eligibility to farmers coming off the Farm Household Allowance.
“We are delivering on our election commitment to establish a $4 billion Regional Investment Corporation, a national body to streamline and approve farm concessional loans for farm businesses and administer the National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility,” Minister Joyce said.

“I look forward to making an additional announcement about funding for water infrastructure in the Great Artesian Basin in the coming days.

“We have delivered a new National Landcare Program, giving certainty of funding to the thousands of volunteers, many of whom are farmers, who work to make sure that future generations will inherit healthy and productive land and water resources.

“We are also following through on our commitment to the livestock export industry, investing $8.3 million over four years in an assurance system that the industry will develop so they can effectively and efficiently meet our stringent animal welfare regulatory requirements.

“We’ve listened to different sectors about their desire for co-investment in research and development and will contribute $1.6 million over four years to the Australian thoroughbred industry and $720,000 over four years to the emerging tea tree oil industry through the establishment of new levies that could ultimately increase these industries’ profitability and competitiveness.

“This targeted investment is dwarfed by the more than $300 million we will invest in 2017–18 through matching contributions to other sectors for research, development and extension—an investment that sees farmers generating $12 for every $1 invested.

“We’re increasing transparency for Australia’s 6100 dairy farmers, providing up to $2 million to develop a Commodity Milk Price Index to help with planning and decision making.

“We’re also delivering on our election commitment to provide $20 million for the Centre for Invasive Species.

“And we’re strengthening our imported food safety system to better protect consumer health.”

Minister Joyce said the 2017–18 Budget measures built on the solid foundations the Coalition Government had established through its first term and the ground-breaking Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.

We’re putting the rubber to the road when it comes to building regional centres of excellence that will boost jobs, demand for skills and create even more vibrant and diverse communities and economies for some of our regional towns and centres,” Minister Joyce said.

This work will significantly improve connections between the agencies and the communities they serve.

“In 2017–18 the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority will continue its transition to its new location in Armidale and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority will establish new offices in Toowoomba, Albury-Wodonga and Adelaide.

These relocations follow successful moves by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, the Grains Research and Development Corporation and the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation in recent times.”

Minister Joyce said the Coalition Government continued to deliver a range of financial tools to farmers with a focus on boosting profits and building farm business resilience.

“In 2017–18, the government will extend eligibility for farm business concessional loans to farmers who have exhausted their full three year entitlement to the Farm Household Allowance. These loans will be available only for refinancing existing debt, and consistent with the government’s drought assistance and dairy recovery concessional loans, these will be capped at $1 million or 50 per cent of final debt, whichever is the lesser.

“This government understands our farming families are constant and consistent contributors to our nation’s prosperity and we are targeting our investments at helping them achieve that. 

“By ensuring strong returns through the farmgate we are actually ensuring strong rural and regional economies flow through to the nation’s bottom line.”

Fast facts:
The 2017–18 Budget continues to deliver for the sector through investments including:
  • Establishing the $4 billion Regional Investment Corporation
  • More than $1 billion for a National Landcare Program over five years
  • Ongoing funding for water initiatives and programs to continue to build on our unprecedented investment in water infrastructure across Australia
  • $8.3 million to support the livestock export industry
​The 2017–18 Budget builds on the $4 billion Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper investments that includes:
  • $500 million over 10 years from 2015–16 for the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund to help states and territories identify and develop secure and affordable water infrastructure to drive economic growth in regional Australia 
  • In addition to these investments, the Coalition Government has also delivered the $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility which was established through the 2016–17 Budget
  • Almost $200 million over four years from 2015–16 to improve biosecurity surveillance and analysis to better target critical risks
  • $180.5 million through the Rural Research and Development for Profit Program for research to improve farmgate productivity and profitability
  • We’re boosting emergency pest and disease eradication funding with $50 million available until 2019–2020
  • $7.1 million over four years from 2016–17 above the ongoing $14.5 million annual investment in the Rural Financial Counselling Service
  • $11.4 million to boost the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission–establishing an agricultural commissioner, Mick Keogh, and delivering a report into cattle supply chain transparency
  • Improved Country of Origin Labelling to give consumers clearer information about the origin of their food will be mandatory by 1 July 2018