NSW Farmers believes it’s pivotal the upcoming NSW Budget reflects the needs of the state’s agricultural sector when it’s handed down later this month.
NSW Farmers’ President James Jackson said the Budget needs to recognise the economic role agriculture and regional NSW are playing and will continue to play during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Agriculture and regional NSW are economic powerhouses, but they have the potential to grow further with the right incentives in place and obstacles removed ,” Mr Jackson said.
“We have identified these in our COVID-19 reform and recovery document, which will also help us build toward the $30 billion by 2030 goal for NSW agriculture.”
“It was pleasing to see the Federal Budget, released at the start of October, contain multiple wins for agriculture, including significant investment in infrastructure and continued drought support.”
“The NSW Budget is likely to have a focus on infrastructure and job creation, which stands to benefit all of NSW if funding is allotted appropriately across all of NSW.”
“Projects like the duplication of the Great Western Highway need to be expedited, both to generate employment and to shorten the travel time between Sydney and key growing regions like the Central West.”
“The lifestyle change the pandemic has prompted in many Australians should also be capitalised on in order to grow and retain people in the regions long term. This demands investment in regional infrastructure to improve access to energy, connectivity and roads, along with commitments to jobs, education, and health services and amenities.”
Mr Jackson said funding announcements made over recent months indicate agriculture and regional NSW will not be forgotten as governments look to rebuild from COVID-19.
“We look forward to seeing how funding for the Emergency Water Infrastructure Scheme, which the Australian Government committed to expanding in the Federal Budget, will be matched by NSW.”
“We will know more about funding after 17 November, but we’re pleased to see positive announcements in the lead up to the Budget. For example, round 2 of the Fixing Local Roads program, which opened this week, will see $136.4 million injected into regional NSW,” Mr Jackson said.