The future of Australia’s farming industry is uncertain after the federal government announced a $4 billion overhaul of its farming policies, with some industries in the country expecting a tough time ahead.
Key points:Australia’s agriculture sector is struggling to cope with the changing climate and changing supplyThe Government says it will provide support to businesses and individuals struggling to adaptThe plan, unveiled on Wednesday, will see the Government provide financial incentives for farmers to start growing plants again, expand their existing operations and create new jobs.
The changes will also see the creation of a new National Agriculture Strategy, with $4.2 billion earmarked for research and development, industry development and research and training.
“The Government’s Government-led strategy to grow Australian agriculture will deliver strong economic growth, sustainable food security, and jobs and growth for Australians,” Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said in a statement.
“We have a very challenging global outlook for food security and climate change.
This Government is determined to address those challenges and we will work closely with businesses and the Australian public to ensure this strategy is sustainable.”
But some industry experts were not pleased by the plan, saying the Government was trying to take a tough approach.
“This plan is not the right one.
We need a very clear direction to get the country’s agriculture to grow in a way that is in the national interest,” said Richard Kettlewell, a former agriculture adviser to the Rudd Government and now director of the Centre for Agriculture and Food Security at the University of Queensland.”
It’s not going to be sustainable.”
He said the Government’s approach was likely to put off many farmers.
“I think there’s going to come a time when we’re not going back to the days of this sort of thing,” he said.
“When you’re looking at a lot of this kind of thing it’s a lot more complex than just, ‘Hey, this is what’s going on’.”
The plan is designed to deliver a number of different measures, including an expansion of the existing production capacity, the creation and support of new businesses and increased access to capital to support growing the industry.
However, the Government has also announced it will offer financial incentives to those who choose to start their own farms.
“Farming is a job, and it’s not just a job for people who are looking to work on farms,” Agriculture minister Barnaby Moore said in the statement.
“It’s a job that creates jobs and helps people.”
He will also provide a $100 million boost to small farmers through the Government-funded Small Farm Investment Fund, which will provide small farms with more money to buy equipment and hire more staff.
“These incentives will help to build on existing small farm infrastructure, which is critical to Australia’s ability to grow a healthy, sustainable, and resilient agriculture industry,” Mr Moore said.
The Government will also offer support to small businesses through a new small business assistance fund, which includes a $200,000 grant and the creation or expansion of one new business, and an additional $250,000 in grants for those who decide to create two or more small businesses.