AGRICULTURAL education at university and expanding irrigation are among the big ticket items in this year’s Tasmanian budget.
The State Government revealed the 2021–2022 budget yesterday, with much of the funding towards the agricultural sector aimed at bolstering existing initiatives.
The Government says it has focused the bulk of its budget on delivering on election promises made for the agricultural sector as well as building on ongoing schemes, programs and initiatives already in place, saying its aim to grow the annual farmgate value of agriculture in Tasmania to $10 billion by 2050 can be reached through significant investment in the sector.
New funding in the budget includes $15 million to establish the Tasmanian Agricultural Precinct for the University of Tasmania in Newnham in Launceston, $3 million for the Agricultural Development Fund which supports innovative and sustainable research and strategy in the industry, $2.6 million towards the Rural Business Resilience Package which supports education for drought management and resilience planning as part of a national program, $2 million for the Primary Producer Safety Rebate Scheme to encourage safety measures such as quad-bike rollover protection devices and $1.5 million to implement initiatives outlined the Rural Water Use Strategy which focuses on river health, monitoring and metering as well as the modernisation of water licensing and permits.
In addition to this, the budget will see funding rolled over from previous initiatives, including an additional $2 million towards the Strategic Industry Partnership Program that supports the seasonal workforce programs, a further $2 million towards research farms in Forth and Elliot to complete a $7 million upgrade and $1.15 million to Landcare Tasmania, which will see $900,00 going to the Landcare Action Grants program and $250,000 to a Carbon Farming Advice Rebate.
Funding towards water and irrigation infrastructure will continue in the new budget, with approximately $30 million being delivered across the Pipeline to Prosperity program this year.
This includes $23.6 million delivered over four years towards the third tranche of the Pipeline to Prosperity program, which will assist in the delivery of the Don, Tamar, Sassafras, Northern Midlands and Fingal irrigation schemes.
Federal investment of $100 million is also being pursued.
An additional $5 million will go towards Tasmanian Irrigation to develop a business case for the South East Extension scheme.
The aim is to increase the capacity of the existing scheme currently supplying Colebrook, Campania, Richmond, Sorell and the Coal Valley by 19,300 megalitres, making it the largest in the state.