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Government White Paper Good News for Australian Sheep Farmers

28 July 2015

AUSTRALIA – Several aspects of the recently released government White Paper for the Australian agriculture sector will benefit sheep producers.

The government says a total of $4 billion is earmarked for the agriculture sector to make farms “stronger, more productive, more profitable and more sustainable”.

Future spending plans will address key issues like; drought, wild dogs, farm and vet chemical traceability and biosecurity, an industry leader has underlined.

Alexander MacLachlan, vice president of the Sheepmeat Council of Australia said these measures should improve farmgate profits, adding that market access, commitment to research and development and a dedicated agriculture commissioner within the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) should bode well for sheep farmers.

The White Paper addresses wild dogs, a scourge to sheep farmers in some areas of the country, in a pledge for $50 million to manage “established pests and weeds”.

Mr MacLachlan said the focus on markets access is “good news” and that he was “encouraged” by steps to simplify vet and chemical registrations.

He said: “In recent years our competitors have gained access to products that have benefited health, welfare and productivity which Australia hasn’t been able to access. It is good to see the Government recognising the necessity for reform and committing funding to this process.

“Ensuring that animal health and welfare products are available with appropriate withholding periods and export slaughter intervals that protect market access is crucial.”

Five Strands

  1. The government has committed to “five key priorities”;
  2. A fairer go for farm businesses
  3. Building the infrastructure of the 21st century
  4. Farming smarter
  5. Accessing premium markets
  6. Strengthening our approach to drought and risk management

Funding Announcements

Greater certainty is pledged for farmers around water security through a $500 million water infrastructure package.

Other drought proofing measures include $3.3 million for improved seasonal forecasting, $29.9 million over four years for farm insurance advice and risk assessments grants and up to $250 million a year in drought concessional loans for 11 years.

Fairer competition for farm produce will be aided by $11.4 million over four years to boost Australian Competition and Consumer Commission engagement.

Approval processes of agriculture and veterinary chemicals is to be “streamlined” and country of origin labelling is going to be “improved”.

There will also be $200 million going to improved biosecurity surveillance and analysis to monitor pest and disease and supporting overseas markets access.

Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, said: “This White Paper is a $4 billion investment in our farmers and our competitive strengths in agriculture. This is a vital part of our plan to build a strong, prosperous economy and a safe, secure Australia.

“We are putting in place practical measures to build a more competitive supply chain, provide the infrastructure needed to support growth, prepare farmers for drought and support them through it, invest in research that drives productivity growth, and open new overseas markets.”

Michael Priestley

Michael Priestley
News Team - Editor

Mainly production and market stories on ruminants sector. Works closely with sustainability consultants at FAI Farms.

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