Tackling the rising cost of electricity, delivering better connectivity, protecting our biosecurity and investing in infrastructure are at the heart of NSW Farmers’ 2018-19 Budget submission. Our submission, released to Government last week, calls for the investment of just over $1 billion into rural and regional communities to drive growth in the agriculture sector.
With agriculture contributing more than $15 billion to the state’s economy annually, we believe that investment by the State government in our sector is a worthy investment.
It is linked directly to the production of food and fibre for people in NSW, as well as across the world. Across the state, agriculture directly employs more than 77,000 people, accounts for one third of Australia’s farm businesses and 80 per cent of the state’s land mass is devoted to agricultural production.
We need the Government to make sensible investment now in the tools that will enable our sector to continue to grow in the years ahead.
Our submission calls for funding for reform of the electricity market, investments in awareness of and responsiveness to biosecurity, and a commitment to rural road and rail maintenance and safety for the on-road movement of farm machinery. We are seeking funding to assist livestock producers, marine health; additional funds to tackle rural crime and a commitment to adequately resource the Local Land Services.
We have sought $1.5 million to scope a new crossing of the Great Dividing Range. With so much of our agricultural production and supply chain restricted by the present crossings, the time is now to invest the dividends of prudent economic management in truly opening up central and western NSW to the opportunity another crossing of the range would bring.
NSW Farmers’ president Derek Schoen.