Federal Budget, Agriculture
Mr PERRETT (Gympie—LNP) (2.56 pm): This week’s federal budget is investing in, and planning
for, a stronger future for Queensland’s agricultural sector. It is delivering. It contrasts starkly with the
lip-service the state government pays to our agriculture, forestry and fishing industries.
The state government resorts to confected outrage, misinformation and scare tactics about the
federal budget. Today it tried to spin its support for regional communities. Nothing is further from the
truth. Actions speak louder than words. Claims of support and the agriculture minister’s self-praise are
hollow words when daylight is shone on his dismal record.
Every year it is expected the expenditure of every department will increase. It is normal because
of growth. Every year should be a record budget, yet DAF is the only department that goes backwards—
backwards in funding and backwards in staffing. Staffing levels go backwards at the same time as the
bureaucracy swells. The minister talks a big game but struggles to deliver.
The contrast with the federal government could not be greater. The federal agriculture budget
championed by Minister Littleproud is supporting new programs so that farmers can capitalise on export
success, prepare for tough times, and put them at the centre of prosperity and growth. Some $7 billion
for investments through the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility will underpin economic growth in
the north. Some $61.6 million will boost frontline biosecurity, including safeguarding our northern border
against lumpy skin disease and other emerging vector-borne animal diseases. Some $10 million will
support state agriculture departments to undertake surveillance and control activities as part of the
$69 million response to Japanese encephalitis virus. A $20 million grant program to improve on-farm
biosecurity and enhance pest and disease traceability will be delivered through interested states. This
commitment is on top of over $500 million invested in biosecurity since last year and a record $1.1 billion
on biosecurity and export programs. Drought resilience will be assisted by consolidating a four-year
drought resilience strategy through the $5 billion Future Drought Fund.
The federal government backs our forestry sector. Some $90.6 million will support the
sustainability of the industry and to respond to emerging challenges, and $86.2 million for new
plantations to secure future wood supply. They will be delivered over five years. Some $4.4 million will
strengthen illegal logging traceability and timber identification systems.
Growcom CEO Stephen Barnard said the federal budget ‘backs in horticulture regions’ and is
‘particularly pleased to see the big investments in water infrastructure in North and Central Queensland’.
The seafood Industry of Australia welcomed the budget and ‘a number of measures which will directly
and indirectly support Australia’s commercial seafood producers’.
The state government is desperate to deflect from its self-inflicted integrity crisis. It has given up
on governing. The state minister is doing nothing. The glaring truth is that, under this government, DAF
is going backwards in funding and staffing.