Federal budget: why Australia wins with bush spending wish list | farm online
After two years of excruciating export and import bottlenecks, soaring transportation costs and shortages of critical farm inputs, farmers want next week’s federal budget to inject incentives much-needed efficiencies in Australian ports and inland supply chains.
Initiatives to improve competition and innovation at the water’s edge and the reliability of imports of equipment, fuel and fertilizers and other agricultural and industrial inputs are in the interests of all Australians – and a matter of national security – says the National Federation of Farmers.
The NFF has calculated that $2.5 million should be invested over four years to iron out bottlenecks in the rail and road network and make Australia a much more attractive destination for foreign cargo, which often bypasses our ports. “sub-standard”, cluttered.
Such an infrastructure fund could also finance a holistic strategy for more reliable fuel supply, storage and usage options, including the introduction of green hydrogen.
The tech agriculture lobby believed there was already ‘a bucket of cash’ set aside by the Coalition government for infrastructure and capacity building as part of the concessions won by the Nationals for accepting Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s net zero carbon emissions goal.
NFF Managing Director and Chief Trade Economist Ash Salardini said agriculture and the international competitiveness of the wider economy were at risk.
Australia needed supply chains defined by innovation, productivity and value creation, not conflict and value appropriation.
Regional and rural communities were growing rapidly and deserved a fair chance through investments in infrastructure and the ability to make these places pleasant places to live and work.
The NFF also wants the Treasury to allocate $1.5 billion to establish 20 regional development zones around Australia to attract critical infrastructure investment and capacity as part of a strategy for economic growth and social for the regions.
Budget repair needed too
While Mr Morrison has signaled that the past three years of unfettered spending must now be followed by fiscal repair and deficit reduction priorities, a coalition government spokesman confirmed that this year’s federal budget includes more major infrastructure commitments to support cities and regional communities and stimulate the growth of industries. which generated wealth.
While the Coalition “has always invested heavily in our regions”, the 2022 budget was expected to provide the bush with an even better offer than previous years, including significant spending on freight routes in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.
In general, road improvements and road safety initiatives would be supported by investments in water infrastructure, such as this week’s $500 million commitment for the Urranah Dam in central Queensland.
Analysts at accounting services firm Bentleys did the math and noted that last year’s newly created $110 billion rolling 10-year pipeline for infrastructure spending only saw about 15.2 billions of dollars committed in the previous budget, which definitely left room for this figure to be matched or surpassed in 2022-23.
However, given current labor, skill and material shortages, the coming fiscal year may not be a prime time for costly new government infrastructure projects. Therefore, more judicious and regular funding can be prioritized to continue existing initiatives.
On the agribusiness front, Bentleys expected the budget to focus on at least some of the agriculture sector’s concerns about supply chain resilience, boosting international business opportunities and food shortages. workforce.
High commodity prices and expected volumes in almost all agricultural export sectors, especially crops, were strong arguments for building more efficient export pathways under the government’s four-year commitment. years of 867 billion dollars in favor of agribusiness taken last year.
After Canberra confirmed in October that current tax incentives to invest in plant and equipment would continue until June 2023, the agricultural machinery industry does not expect other sweeteners to improve with the popular instant asset amortization program.
Tractor and Machinery Association of Australia executive director Gary Northover said good seasons and prices had already kept demand for new equipment going, but tax deduction incentives often encouraged farmers to make purchases larger or larger than expected, or plan ahead for more strategic investments.
Businesses with cumulative sales of no more than $5 billion are eligible to depreciate new commercial vehicles and equipment.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 and daily warnings about the state of the crisis in hospitals, aged care facilities and the mental health and disability sectors have put healthcare at the forefront of the list of likely “election budget” priorities, according to Bentleys.
The financial services firm is betting on a further increase in National Disability Insurance, mental health and suicide prevention spending, which had already risen from $94 billion last year to $121 billion for 2021-22.
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