The NSW State Budget continues the rollout of the Berejiklian-Barilaro Government’s existing commitments to regional NSW, but lacks any new big announcements for the agricultural sector, according to the NSW Farmers’ Association.
Association president and Corowa farmer Derek Schoen said much of the details was a ‘‘re-packaging of existing initiatives’’.
The NSW Budget was released Tuesday last week.
‘‘We understand the government is probably keeping its powder dry before next year’s pre-election budget. Nevertheless we will continue to keep the pressure up on all of the issues that matter to primary producers,’’ Mr Schoen said.
NSW Farmers’ welcomed the $182 million allocated to Local Land Services, including an allocation of $20 million for the rollout of biodiversity reforms.
‘‘Fully funding the biodiversity package rollout is a priority — Local Land Services will get one shot to get this rollout right and gain credibility amongst farmers,’’ Mr Schoen said.
‘‘Young farmers are some of the very best early adopters of technology and innovation so we applaud the government backing them with a $6 million Young Farmer Program to help them improve long term financial resilience and build capability and capacity.’’
The Association also welcomed the government’s commitments to:
●Remove stamp duty from crop and livestock insurance from January 1, 2018;
●Spend more on health, with $86 million towards building new hospitals at Macksville, Maitland, Mudgee and Tweed and an extra five rural generalist training positions; and
●Spend $38 million for new fire tankers to fight fires across the state.
‘‘We welcome the government’s continuing commitment to regional transport infrastructure, for example $35 million for the Berry to Bomaderry by-pass, however, we seek a broader vision including full supply chain modelling to transform the productivity of the agricultural sector,’’ Mr Schoen said.
‘‘We’ve been calling for $3 million for retrofitting dairy underpasses so that stock can safely move to and from the dairy. We were disappointed not to see this in the budget.
‘‘The government’s budget response to the looming electricity affordability and reliability challenge was also disappointing.
‘‘While we welcome the rollout of the Clean Energy Fund, with $119 million funding to help bolster the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, more resources need to be dedicated to support the structural reforms occurring within energy markets.
‘‘NSW Farmers’ has been assured more projects are in the pipeline for farmers over the coming months. We’ll make sure government keeps this promise.’’