WOOLPRODUCERS Australia has welcomed biosecurity, infrastructure and trade reform funding announced in the 2021 Federal Budget.
WoolProducers Australia chief executive officer Jo Hall said the Federal Government has announced a number of measures to assist primary producers, the broader agriculture sector, and regional communities and economies.
The peak wool grower body said a number of its “key asks” in a pre-budget submission included increased funding for biosecurity, infrastructure and trade were included in budget commitments.
“Last week’s announcement of a further $414.5 million to strengthen Australia’s biosecurity system provides a sound basis to maintain and protect our billion-dollar sector.
“We are particularly pleased to see $67.4 million dedicated to ensuring Australia continues to have a robust biosecurity preparedness and response capability in the event of a pest or disease outbreak,” Ms Hall said.
“Along with the $29 million for a coordinated approach to feral animal control, which was a specific ask of WoolProducers.”
WoolProducers was also satisfied with the announcement of $170 million to strengthen internet and mobile coverage in regional Australia.
“Many wool growers live and work in parts of Australia that suffer poor connectivity and provision of telecommunications services,” Ms Hall said.
“Improvements to regional telecommunications was another key theme of WoolProducers pre-budget submission, as reliable and affordable telecommunications is important for farming families in order to access the digital economy for their business, education, health and social needs.”
The $15 million spend over the next four years for trade reform and expansion was also welcomed by the peak body.
“The wool industry exports around 93 percent of production, with 70pc of the value all Australian agriculture products exported, it is imperative that trade and export opportunities are not only maintained but grown,” Ms Hall said.
It’s a well-worn cliche that “beggars cannot be choosers” and so it’s not surprising that WoolProducers has come out complimenting the Federal Government on increasing funding for biosecurity; protecting our borders from the introduction of exotic diseases. Diseases that could paralyse all Australian livestock industries in a matter of moments.
However, any Australian returning to Australia in recent years is familiar with the risk of the introduction of exotic diseases and is horrified at the decline in surveillance at our borders. This is the result of many years of cutbacks in biosecurity by successive Federal Government budgets over the last decade, mainly Coalition Governmemts. Whilst David Littleproud has worked hard to address this delinquent approach of the Morrison Government, this budget announcement is just a small step in addressing the problem of biosecurity at our borders. And then like many of the announcements of additional funding by the Morrison Government, we cannot be sure it will be actually emerge as additional resources and improved biosecurity. It is the job of WoolProducers and our other national livestock organizations to ensure that this government’s budget announcement translates into action and is not another Morrison smoke and mirrors attempt at trickery.