Australian beef producers and the value they bring to the economy has not been recognised in this year’s budget, according to Cattle Council of Australia.
Beef has missed out on the infrastructure front but on a positive note, many of the nation’s beef businesses will benefit from the 2.5 per cent reduction in tax rate for small businesses.
CCA chief executive officer Jed Matz said the Australian Government had moved away from the positive budget initiatives of 2015-16 to focus on generating “jobs and growth’’.
Mr Matz said jobs and growth did not appear to be as relevant in the rural industries.
“The budget seems to have little in it for agriculture but even less focus directly on the beef industry,’’ he said.
“This is disappointing as investing in the beef industry is vital to building the agricultural boom to keep Australia’s economy moving forward as the mining industry falls away.’’
Additional funding of $15.9 million over four years for the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to develop an advanced analytics capability aimed at better targeting the Government’s biosecurity efforts has been welcomed.
“However, there is little detail within the information provided so we will be seeking further clarification on what the investment really means,’’ Mr Matz said.
“As much of northern Australia has seen its fourth poor wet season and other parts of the country struggle with the dry conditions, the extra $7.1 million to fund the continuation of around 15 positions for rural financial counsellors is a positive.
“However, a greater focus on the current issues facing the rural production zones would have been welcome.’’
Mr Matz said beef had missed out on the infrastructure front with producers crying out for greater connectivity.
“We are disappointed to see no additional allocations to mobile black spot programs,’’ he said.
In a positive move for many beef businesses, a 2.5 per cent reduction in the company tax rate (from 30 to 27.5 per cent) will encourage reinvestment back in their business.
Cattle Council of Australia will be seeking further clarity on how the additional funding for the Reef Trust and Landcare will be invested.
“The beef industry is committed to working with Government on our industry impacts on the environment, especially when it comes to one of our greatest national resources,’’ Mr Matz said.
“But, this must be a collaborative approach.
“Though the Government has put resources in place to tackle issues around red tape in agriculture, of which Cattle Council has been supportive, it is disappointing to see the Government’s focus has been shifted away from putting financial support behind these initiatives.
“Further, while improved market access has been delivered in recent years, there is still much work to be done, especially on technical trade barriers.
“Australian beef producers are turning more and more to export markets to remain viable and access is vital.
“It is unfortunate the Government has failed to recognise the value behind these initiatives in this year’s budget.’’[ends]
For further details contact Jed Matz on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0407 124 479.