Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Agriculture's future is bright: Ludwig

Federal Minister for Agriculture, Joe Ludwig.
BY COLIN BETTLES

AUSTRALIA'S farming and agricultural sector is heading towards a period of real opportunity - both domestically and internationally, says Federal Minister for Agriculture Joe Ludwig.
“Seasonal conditions are pointing to a very productive year ahead,” he told FarmOnline, while giving an overview of the Federal Budget.
“For the first time in recent memory, Australia is drought free.
“Agricultural exports are predicted to rise by 9.4 percent and stay at over $35 billion this year and the next.
“New and emerging trade markets – especially in Asia – will present opportunity for our producers.
“And for the first time in more than 30 years, strong average farm business profits and positive rates of return are expected for broadacre farms in every State and industry.”
Minister Ludwig said in addition to delivering a surplus and the fundamental benefits that come from it, the Australian Government was making the investments needed to drive Australia forward and help our farming communities take advantage of those opportunities.
He said the 2012-13 Federal Budget had delivered a continued investment in agriculture and in our regional and rural communities.
“The half a billion dollar investment in Australia’s biosecurity system will build a state-of the art post entry quarantine facility, deliver better protection against pest and disease, and secure our reputation as a reliable exporter of food and fibre,” he said.
“Prioritising the reform of the century-old Biosecurity Act will modernise our legislation, create a responsive and flexible operating environment, and maintain our world-class biosecuirty system.
“A $2.2 billion commitment to continue Caring for Our Country for another five years will support sustainable agriculture innovation, weed and pest eradication and management, and better practices to protect our natural resources, among other things.
“Creating separate but complementary environment and agriculture streams will allow for a more specific focus on the role farming communities play in keeping our land productive, and the projects that are needed to support their efforts.
“Providing over $235 million to match research and development expenditure by Research and Development Corporations will continue to drive production and growth, as well as consolidate Australia’s reputation as a high quality producer at the domestic and international level.
“Continuing to roll out funding under the Government’s $429 million Carbon Farming Futures Package will help farmers get involved and take advantage of the great opportunities initiative like carbon farming provide.
“Team these with other investments in rural and regional Australia, like skills, health, infrastructure, and the NBN, and it becomes clear this Government is committed to building a strong future for farming communities.
“By investing in agriculture and our farming communities, the Gillard Government is investing in Australia’s future.”

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