AgForce examines state budget

It was largely 'business as usual' for the agriculture portfolio, as the state budget was handed down last week.

While overall funding to the Department of Agriculture was down - due to past funding for the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program having been brought forward and future funding yet to be determined - overall staff numbers were largely the same and slightly increased for biosecurity services compared to the last budget.

Following AgForce Sheep, Wool and Goat Board advocacy the budget included a welcome $4.7 million (for 2022-23) to introduce an individual electronic identification traceability system for sheep and goats, although the final amount is dependent on the Australian Government's contribution.

There was also $1.4 million identified to develop and replace the livestock Brands Information System - also sought by AgForce - and the same amount to upgrade the Wild Dog Barrier Fence.

Other notable inclusions in the budget were:

  • $21.7 million over 5 years and $2.8 million per annum ongoing towards biosecurity preparedness for plant pests and diseases to meet emerging threats.
  • $1.9 million in 2023/24 towards innovative rapid detection tools to improve the speed at which an animal disease incursion can be diagnosed and managed.
  • Up to $48.5 million over 3 years for programs and grants, and $100 million over 2 years for loans, to support drought preparedness, and ongoing operating cost relief for those who are drought declared.
  • $1 billion commitment for the Inland Freight Route (Charters Towers to Mungindi), and similar for the Rockhampton Ring Road.
  • $35 million over 4 years for planning and community engagement activities around development of the renewable energy industry.
  • $22.8 million over 2 years to continue to discount irrigation prices by 15 per cent for one additional year.
  • $9.8 million over 4 years to implement an enhanced vegetation compliance model to reduce emissions from unexplained land clearing, with a focus on working with landholders.

A more detailed breakdown of the budget is available here or from your AgForce Regional Manager.

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