The Queensland 2021-22 State Budget will continue to provide the agriculture sector certainty in uncertain times.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said the Palaszczuk Government has a long history of working with industry and investing in the key initiatives that the sector needs.
“This $523 million budget is no different, with investment to strengthen and safeguard the sector from biosecurity risks, continue to support those producers and communities who are affected by the ongoing drought, while also investing in farming of the future,” Mr Furner said.
“We are backing our farmers to help deliver Queensland’s plan for economic recovery through a fourth round of Rural Economic Development (RED) Grants.
“RED Grants offer co-contribution grants to agribusiness projects to strengthen primary production sectors and bolster rural communities.
“The first three rounds of the scheme created 1800 jobs across regional Queensland and this new investment will see the creation of 600 more.”
Minister Furner said the budget will also build on the Palaszczuk Government’s support for the sheep industry with a new Regional Agricultural Development (RAD) scheme.
“Since 2015 we have provided more than $60 million in loans and grants for cluster fencing across Western Queensland,” he said.
“Producers are telling us lambing rates are increasing. The $4 million RAD scheme will back our farmers to rebuild the infrastructure needed to expand our sheep industry.”
Key highlights of the 2021-22 budget include:
- Increased funding of $42.5 million over four years to continue fisheries reform, which paves the way for a world-class fisheries management system
- Continued support for producers and communities affected by the ongoing drought with funding of up to $71.4 million over four years for the Drought Assistance and Reform Package – assisting producers to prepare for, manage, and recover from future droughts
- Increased funding of $10.9 million (and $5.9 million in capital funding over three years) to finalise long-term decisions on the future assets formerly held by the Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges, including developing a new Central Queensland Smart Cropping Centre at Emerald
- Increased investment in Biosecurity Operations of $8.8 million over four years and $1.1 million ongoing from 2024-25 for African Swine Fever prevention and preparedness, biosecurity emergency operations, marine pest surveillance and plant diagnostics
- An additional $2.6 million in 2021-22 to enhance implementation of the Australian Government’s Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Worker Programme to fill seasonal employment gaps in regional areas
Minister Furner said the Budget’s investment in agriculture ensures one of the traditional backbones of the Queensland economy can grow, thrive and support the state’s plan for economic recovery.
“Our primary producers have been front of mind for Government through drought, floods, and now COVID-19,” he said.
“We’ve stood shoulder to shoulder with our farmers to help them get on with business and support employment, and this budget will continue to provide them with more certainty in these uncertain times.”