Budget falls short for TFGA

TASMANIA’S peak farming body says the Federal Budget fails to meet the state’s needs for agriculture.

The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association said the Budget’s infrastructure spending on water and roads only provided small change for Tasmania with water worth 0.18 per cent of national spending and roads at 0.55 per cent.

The Federal Budget included a pre-announced increased spend of $13.7 million for the Don Irrigation scheme with a range of road and rail infrastructure upgrades also receiving funds.

TFGA President Ian Sauer said Tasmania had an ongoing program of water development that had been rolling out for the past 13 years.

However, Mr Sauer said the money committed in the Federal Budget fell a long way short of what Tasmania required to roll out the next six schemes that are now shovel-ready for investment.

“It is proving to be a game changer for Tasmania and Tasmanian farmers,” Mr Sauer said.
“It is reinvigorating communities, building drought resilience, and helping farming communities to thrive under a changing climate.
“We are seeing new and high-value industries emerging and expanding in Tasmania because of our irrigation development, such as soft fruits, stone fruits and viticulture.”

Mr Sauer said labour shortages were another issue facing Tasmanian agriculture.

“While there are some skills and innovation incentives in the Budget there is nothing added from previous commitments to address the shortages in both seasonal workers and permanent employees,” he said.
“These labour shortages have been significant for many and need addressing.”

Mr Sauer said the Budget had missed the mark.

“This is particularly disappointing as the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association brought to the Government’s attention the upmost importance of increased funding in the agricultural sector highlighting the additional jobs, increase in agricultural output as well as the additional on-farm investment that would benefit all Tasmanians,” he said.
“The TFGA will continue to lobby the Government to ensure that the importance of agriculture in Tasmania and the flow-on benefits within the community are recognised.”