The McGowan Government is securing the future of the State’s agricultural efforts, with the 2019-20 Budget to include $131.5 million of additional expenditure in the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.
Under the previous Liberal National Government, core funding for the then-Department of Agriculture and Food WA was cut significantly with a further 37 per cent decrease in expenditure built in to the forward estimates.
This resulted in a significant loss of agricultural capability and a Budget black hole threatening to further erode the department’s ability to deliver for the State’s agriculture sector.
DPIRD has completed a capability review to determine the functions, structure, resourcing and strategic priorities required to deliver the Government’s priorities in primary industries and regional development.
This expenditure secured in the 2019-20 Budget will allow DPIRD to fulfil its critical role in supporting WA’s primary industries and regional communities while also ensuring the department is able to rebuild capacity and capability.
The increased investment provides a long-term, sustainable funding base for core functions. In addition, long-term funding has been secured for critical programs that were previously funded on a short-term basis, including Boosting Biosecurity Defences, Asian Market Success and Boosting Grains Research and Development.
The expenditure also includes $3.3 million for critical upgrades to laboratories at DPIRD’s South Perth facility to ensure important agricultural scientific work can continue at the site.
As stated by Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
“WA’s agricultural sector needs long-term, dynamic, government-led research and innovation to remain at the forefront of international competition, and the McGowan Government is committed to delivering for our farmers.
“The previous Liberal National Government slashed the then-Department of Agriculture and Food WA and left a massive black hole in funding for the agency in the forward estimates.
“In this year’s Budget, we are securing the future of the State’s agricultural efforts – we’re plugging the funding gap and putting DPIRD on a sustainable footing to deliver the best outcomes for our agricultural sector.
“Supporting a dynamic agrifood science and innovation ecosystem requires a strategic approach that will require stewardship from DPIRD and the support and confidence of industry and agribusiness leaders.
“The increase in investment allows us to rebuild capability within DPIRD – and puts us in a strong position to leverage further research funding from the Federal Government to support WA agriculture.”