BUDGET WINS AND LOSSES
FEDERAL Treasurer Scott Morrison delivered his third Budget to parliament last week, assuring Australians the Government’s financial plan would help everyday Australians build “their future with confidence”.
The budget focus is on improving road and rail, better access to health and strengthening agricultural exports.
But the number one item on regional communities’ wish lists – better telecommunication access – has gone unanswered.
“Transport is one of the biggest costs for primary producers, so we are always keen to see infrastructure investment that makes it safer, easier and cheaper to get our goods to market,” AgForce chief executive Michael Guerin said.
“AgForce had been calling for a national regional infrastructure fund so we were pleased to see the Federal Budget include a Roads of Strategic Importance initiative with $1.5 billion to upgrade key freight corridors in northern Australia, as well as a new round of the Building Better Regions Fund.
“We were disappointed there was no new commitment to further address mobile phone black spots, as the need for better telecommunications is one of the biggest issues for people living and working in the bush.
“Phone and internet services are an economic and social lifeline.”
Mr Guerin said AgForce also welcomed extra funding for mental health support, including for the Royal Flying Doctor Service, but would have liked more assistance for farmers facing their sixth year of drought.
Member for Maranoa, David Littleproud hailed the budget as a victory for southwest Queensland. highlighting the support the budget offered the agriculture industry.
“Maranoa is vital in this government’s plan to drive economic growth to secure more and better paying jobs,” Mr Littleproud said.
“The $51.3 million for six more agricultural counsellors to grow our agriculture trade will help grow farm exports from Maranoa, which means more money for our farmers and in our communities.
“The $121.6 million extra we’re investing in biosecurity will help keep our farmers safe from exotic pests and diseases and protect their produce and their livelihoods.”
He said senior and child care health were also winners out in the Budget.
BUDGET 2018: Treasurer Scott Morrison discusses the importance of agriculture to our national economy with Agriculture Minister and Member for Maranoa David Littleproud.