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  • Writer's pictureHannah Phillips

The Budget: Tax on tax for the agriculture sector

The agriculture sector has received little relief in the budget handed down on Tuesday night, with biosecurity measures a feature of the budget and infrastructure costs to the sector packaged as 'spends,' which failed to be mention on budget night.


Shadow Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Tony Pasin was shocked that the Treasure failed to mention infrastructure once in his budget speech earlier this week.


“I've been observing politics for 20 years, I've been serving in the Parliament for 10 years. Never have I heard a Treasurer's speech on Budget Night fail to mention the word roads or infrastructure even once and that's what we saw on Tuesday night,” he said.


The government already has a large pipeline of infrastructure over the next ten years, projects in this will now be under an independent review. 160 projects already in the pipeline with spends under $5 million dollars will be scrutinised.


Minister for infrastructure Catherine King said the pipeline would be realigned in the budget toward the governments priorities.

“Under the Liberals and Nationals, the number of infrastructure projects in the pipeline blew out from 150, to almost 800. Projects were left without adequate funding, resources or genuine commitment,” Ms King said.

The National Farmer Federation President Fiona Simson said that budget didn’t address food inflation and ignores the agriculture sector.


“[The budget] ignores practical solutions that could have provided a double-whammy of price relief for households and a stronger more vibrant agriculture sector,” Ms Simson said.

The government will continue to allocate existing funds to the National Heritage Trust using resourcing in this budget to protect nature, threatened spices and national resource management a cost of $341.2 million over the next 5 years. With world heritage properties receiving $48 million and wetlands catchments $50 million. Climate Smart will receive $302.1 million dollars.


New Spending includes $38.4 million on agricultural sustainability, $5 million for animal welfare and $5.6 million into an independent assessment of the phase out of live sheep export.


The agricultural spend centrepiece is a $1 billion dollar biosecurity system. The biosecurity funding model will be paid for by the industry itself Mr Pasin said.

“[The biosecurity system,] that gets paid for by the industry that produces the food rather than the government keeping out the nasties at the border. Or better still, rather than imposing impost, cost impost on overseas importers, we're having Australian farmers paying the costs of protecting Australian agriculture," Mr Pasin said.

“Surely those that are posing the risk, those that are importing goods into Australia should be the ones paying to ensure our biosecurity system remains sustainable and secure. Instead, the Australian Government has decided that they will whack Australian farmers with this tax.”


“I think the most galling part of this, which hasn't been mentioned a lot in the commentary or in the media, is that this is a tax on a tax. It's a 10% tax going on top of levies paid by farmers. Those levies are taxes. So it's a form of double taxation, which I think is not only unfair, it's unconscionable.”



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