2023-24 Federal Budget – SADA Welcomes new money, but…
The South Australian Dairyfarmers’ Association (SADA) today welcomed the Commonwealth’s announcement of an additional $1 billion for biosecurity measures in the budget, however, is left with questions about how that money will be spent.
Yesterday the federal Treasurer, Jim Chalmers, handed down a budget that increased funding to biosecurity measures in Australia. This comes off the back of the recent scares livestock industries in Australia experienced with revelations that Foot and Mouth Disease and Lumpy Skin Disease had arrived on Australia’s doorstep last year.
Australia’s reputation as a disease-free market is extremely valuable to the nation’s wealth. An outbreak of either one of these diseases would have a profound impact on Australia’s $75 billion rural economy.
The response from the Treasurer means an increase to levies paid by farmers. These levies are collected across a number of sectors including the dairy industry. While these increases will not cover the whole $1 billion extra, they represent an impost on farmers. Further, SADA notes that this new approach is the product of a Treasurer’s edict that was not widely consulted across industry. Certainly, state-based farmer organisations were not spoken to regarding how the money would be collected or for that matter spent.
Farmers remain in the dark about how the money, which is to be spent over four years, will be distributed.
Speaking in Adelaide today SADA President, Rob Brokenshire, said;
“As a farming organisation we do welcome this increased attention to this vital part of our economy. However, we now expect to be consulted by the Government as to how this money will be spent in the coming years. As farmers we have a vital interest in ensuring this money is expended in the most effective and efficient way possible. Edicts from government far away, rather than effective consultation, still risks sub-optimal outcomes. SADA stands ready to work with the Commonwealth and the department to assist in ensuring this extra money delivers genuine bang for buck over the next four years.”