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Australian Cattle Council : Yearbook 2015
YEARBOOK2015 CATTLE COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA 14 • building better water, transport and communication infrastructure • strengthening our approach to drought and risk management • investing in smarter and more innovative approaches to farming and effective natural resource management policy • accessing premium markets. Reliable, efficient and cost-effective infrastructure is critical for speed to market and competitiveness in both domestic and international markets – and is therefore integral to the beef industry’s ability to capitalise on export opportunities. In northern Australia’s cattle industry, for example, transport costs can be as much as 35 per cent of the price of cattle. 11 The Government is already delivering on its commitment to invest $50 billion for current and future infrastructure, including through the White Paper for Developing Northern Australia. We are investing in better transport infrastructure, such as inland rail. Through the Ag White Paper, the Government is also investing $500 million in a National Water Infrastructure Fund to provide future water security for our farmers. $200 million of the Fund will be dedicated to northern Australia projects. Under the Ag White Paper, the CSIRO’s TRAnsport Network Strategic Investment Tool (TRANSIT) will also be expanded to ensure future decisions on transport infrastructure investment deliver maximum benefit. We will also continue to invest in delivering better communications infrastructure, through the $29.5 billion National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout, and an additional $60 million on top of the $100 million Mobile Black Spot Programme to improve mobile coverage across regional Australia. Through the Ag White Paper we are also supporting the industry by creating a better business environment that will give a fairer go to farm businesses, and by delivering real support when it’s needed, like during drought. Producers are already benefiting from fairer tax arrangements for fencing, water infrastructure and fodder storage assets, and from 1 July 2016 farmers will also be able to opt back into income tax averaging after 10 years. From 1 July 2016, farmers will be able to double their Farm Management Deposits (FMDs) to $800,000, and banks will be able to allow farmers to use FMDs as a business loan offset, reducing interest costs. We understand that beef can be a tough business, particularly during periods of drought. The White Paper also invests $2.97 billion in support to help farmers manage risk and prepare for drought, as well as giving them certainty about in-drought support. A bright future The opportunities for the beef cattle industry are tremendous. Australia is neighbours with the strongest growing region in the world, we have world-class clean and green credentials, a strong economy, modern technology and a skilled workforce. To fully realise the opportunities that lie ahead, we must rise to the challenges of remaining competitive in domestic and international markets; building productive capacity to capitalise on the opportunities offered by growing world food demand; and ensuring profitable returns at the farm gate that will drive continued investment in the sector. Both government and industry have important roles to play in ensuring the sector is well positioned to meet these challenges and realise the full potential of future opportunities. Following the Senate Inquiry examining representative and R&D levy arrangements for the sector, I am encouraged by industry’s continuing efforts to work together and to take a unified, long-term approach towards developing a new industry representative body. With sensible policies and practical actions backed up with genuine investment, the government is helping to build a solid foundation for the industry’s long-term profitability and productivity. I look forward to continuing to work with the sector to seize opportunities and realise a bright and prosperous future. BARNABY JOYCE Minister for Agriculture & Water Resources 11 CSIRO data