Pastoralists with grazing leases on crown land are celebrating this week after the State Government announced a 6‑month waiver on land rents – other than minimum rent leases – to provide an economic stimulus to rural industries and the economy.
AgForce has welcomed the move, which will save many producers thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars – money that will not only give these farm businesses a boost, but be spent in outback towns and helping maintain the rural workforce.
CEO Michael Guerin said AgForce had first suggested the plan to the State Government late last year as a way it could offer relief to producers affected by the lengthy drought – which is still ongoing.
“We’d like to thank the Government -in particular Premier Palaszczuk who heard our submission in person – for her leadership and vision in responding first to the drought and now to COVID-19,” Mr Guerin said.
“With the right settings in place, the agriculture industry and the regional and rural communities it underpins are well placed to play a significant role in Australia’s recovery from the pandemic.
“This includes ‘having Australia’s back’ in terms of food security during the crisis, maintaining local jobs and economic activity, and making sure we are in the best position to lift export revenues once restrictions lift to help Australia get back on its feet quickly.
We understand this is the first of a number of stimulus measures targeted at the ag industry, and we look forward to collaborating with the Government tom on further measures that will allow agriculture sector to support the strongest possible post-COVID recovery.
At this stage, the waiver is in place for the two middle quarters of the year – effectively April 1 to September 30. Leaseholders who have not yet paid will not be expected to pay and those who have already paid will be given a full refund.
Last week, the Government also announced a number of measures to assist rural transport operators, including a continuation of the existing freeze on increases in heavy vehicle registration fees, and a waiver on fees for de-registration and re-registration of vehicles.
Mr Guerin said these measures would assist the transport industry to keep Australia moving, ensuring primary products can reach markets and ensuring a vital transport lifeline for those living in rural and regional areas.