GrainGrowers has called on the Federal Government to use the next budget to invest in the grains sector to enable job creation and support strong rural and regional communities.
GrainGrowers has used its pre-budget submission to detail funding across areas ranging from farm inputs, infrastructure, trade and market access to biosecurity, taxation, and sustainability.
GrainGrowers Chair Rhys Turton said funding initiatives to improve the operating environment for Australian grain growers would meet the government’s focus on building economic capacity and resilience.
The submission details a range of investments, including:
- A significant upgrade in funding for freight networks and regional roads, including $1 billion over four years through the Regional Infrastructure Recovery program.
- Additional trade and market access funding including $85.9 million for the Agri-Business Expansion Initiative.
- Increasing opportunities for domestic manufacture of fertiliser, chemicals, fuel, and spare parts.
- Development of fit-for-purpose visa arrangements, inclusive of the skills requirements of the grains sector, and the allocation of funds for programs and infrastructure to deliver better safety outcomes for the grains sector.
- Introducing initiatives that lower on-farm emissions, including loans that assist farmers to adopt emission reduction practices and activities.
- Commissioning the investigation of the Australian grains industry and supply chain.
- Implementing the National Biosecurity Strategy and establishing a sustainable funding model for biosecurity.
- Maintaining matched government contributions for industry R&D levies.
- Funding the recommendations of the 2021 RTIRC Report to deliver improved mobile and internet connectivity for grain farmers and the wider rural community.
- Adopting the productivity Commissions Right to Repair recommendations for agricultural machinery.
Mr Turton said the value of the grains industry to the Australian economy delivered real value to future government investment.
“As an industry, we are a powerhouse of regional Australia with 22,500 farm businesses directly employing 34,000 workers each season and thousands more employed across the supply chain. From an estimated 31 million hectares, we grow 65 million tonnes of grains, oilseeds and pulses each year, contributing over $20 billion gross value of production to the Australian economy.”
“In short, grain growers significantly contribute to the well-being of our regions and the national economy.”
Mr Turton said the pre-budget submission identified a range of opportunities that could make a difference to the growers and the wider industry.
“Ongoing investment in the specified areas will allow grain growers to continue to adapt to current challenges and opportunities and to reliably provide high-quality grains, oilseeds and pulses to Australia and the world.
“From a government perspective, this funding also represents the potential for a significant return on this investment,” Mr Turton said.