Primary Producers SA welcome the fact that our major wealth creating industries were spared in what was a tough Federal Budget.

“Primary producers will be affected as individuals and families like all Australians, but the Budget does not impose any major impositions on their businesses. And this was vital if the expected future heavy reliance on Primary Production exports are to be realised”, said PPSA Chair Rob Kerin.

“We await clarification as to whether the diesel fuel rebate will be adjusted to compensate for increases in the fuel excise. We are glad that changes in the Diesel fuel rebate did not eventuate, as these changes would have seen major increases to costs for larger Primary Producers, particularly broad acre farmers and diesel reliant irrigators”, added Mr. Kerin.

P.P.S.A. welcomes the “Rural R&D for Profit Policy Initiative”. This $100m (over 4 years) contestable fund is in addition to current R&D arrangements and aims to focus on enhancing the profitability of our agricultural industries. “We hope that this fund is well administered to deliver its focus of productivity increases”, said Mr. Kerin. This increase is partially offset by cuts to CRC funding.

“The drought package appears as promised, however we remain concerned as to how South Australia will have equal access. We encourage both Federal and State Departments to give more certainty to South Australian farmers” said Mr. Kerin

“First reading of the Budget would indicate an extra $20 million for bio-security. We are concerned as to the level of bio-security nationally, and hope that Government will financially and administratively respond to what the bio-security needs are. We need the capacity not just for routine procedures, but the ability to respond to any major bio-security emergencies”, said Mr. Kerin.

P.P.S.A. also welcomes the $8m funding over 4 years to improve access to farmers for minor use of agricultural and veterinary chemicals. There are a growing number of applications for this funding.

P.P.S.A. expressed concerns re the $18m cut to Council roads in S.A. At a time when fuel excises are rising and there are promises of huge increases in road spending, it is disappointing that rural S.A. is missing out on the biggest positive of the Budget.

There are also concerns that the cuts to State health grants will see the State Government resurrect their rationalization plans for Country Hospitals which were attempted, but shelved in the late 2000’s.

P.P.S.A. remains concerned that within the Budget cuts to Government bodies that the Agriculture Ministerial Council has lost COAG status. “As a Federation, there are many Primary Industry issues managed at State level where national uniformity and co-operation are vital. The previous Ministerial Council dealt with many of these issues, and the new informal structure lacks the authority of the Council.”

Comments: Rob Kerin 0439 933 103