Tough budget shows some promise for horticulture
The Australian vegetable and potato industries have acknowledged the Australian Government’s investment in agriculture, including an $8 million allocation to improve farmers’ access to minor use chemicals contained in last night’s Federal Budget.
In what was generally a tough budget for the nation, AUSVEG has also welcomed and an additional $100 million allocation over four years to fund research in partnership with Rural Research and Development Corporations (RDCs).
“The $8 million investment in minor use programs is in line with a Coalition election commitment to cut red tape and improve access to useful chemicals for growers,” said AUSVEG spokesperson William Churchill.
AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.
“Improving access to minor use chemicals is expected to help address issues of productivity within horticultural industries, and we certainly welcome anything that makes life easier for Australian vegetable and potato growers.”
“However, with this funding now allocated we are eager to see further details on precisely how it will be invested, and obviously, the flow-on benefits to growers.”
Other measures contained in the budget include the provision of $20 million over four years to strengthen Australia’s biosecurity quarantine arrangements, with additional resources allocated to pest and disease incursions.
“AUSVEG has been vocal on issues of biosecurity, particularly the threats posed by Zebra chip disease and fresh potato imports from New Zealand,” said Mr Churchill.
“Biosecurity remains a vital component of the future viability of Australian horticulture and we welcome any spending measures that shore up our defences.”
Mr Churchill also acknowledged the Government’s announcement that it will continue to provide funding to match industry levies for research and development.
“While we acknowledge this budget was a tough one, we would urge the Federal Government, when making future spending decisions, to consider the long-term needs of our sector, which is the fastest growing sector in agriculture.”
MEDIA CONTACT: William Churchill, Communications and Public Affairs Manager, AUSVEG
Ph: (03) 9882 0277, Mob: 0411 166 748, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.