Govt releases plan to push ag to $100 billion within a decade

Govt releases plan to push ag to $100 billion within a decade

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The seven-point plan will turn the ag sector in to a $100 billion industry by 2030, the government says.

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THE federal government has released its plan to turn the agricultural sector in to a $100-billion industry within the next decade.

The Ag2030 pulls together a number of recent announcement and budget measures under seven key priority areas: water infrastructure, trade and exports, innovation and research, stewardship, strong supply chains, human capital and biosecurity.

Agriculture Minister Littleproud said the 2020/21 budget laid the foundations for industry to reach its $100-billion goal by 2030.

"Government and industry will need to be clear eyed about the task ahead of us, and work harder and smarter and adapt the way we do things," Mr Littleproud said.

"I am confident that if government focuses our efforts on these priority areas, we can create the environment needed for industry to reach this ambitious objective."

The government committed $2 billion to the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund, taking the fund to $3.5 billion, which state government's can apply for fund dams, weirs and pipelines.

"We're cutting the cheque and saying to the states 'come and get it'," Mr Littleproud said.

"There's been 20 dams built in this country since 2003 - 16 of those have been in Tasmania, the rest of the states have done three-fifths of bugger all."

Export red tape will be cut and the process will be made easier for farmers, with $328-million committed to a single touch point for exporters and to reduced the regulatory burden on live exports, red meat and plant industries.

The budget also provided additional $317m for the International Freight Assistance Mechanism, taking the total commitment to $669m.

The ag research and development corporations (RDCs) will be given a $1.3m boost to avoid duplication of research and improve cooperation, while $7.2m will be used to streamline and modernise the levy legislation.

"We do a lot of research, but we don't commercialise - the 'd' in RDC has been left behind," Mr Littleproud said.

"There's cases where four RDCs were doing the same research. That's a waste of money.

"We've got the same number of researchers as the Netherlands and the United States. They are four and six in the world [for agricultural research] and we are number 20. So there's a lot of work we can do."

Mr Littleproud said the government's plan to reward farmers for their stewardship will allow them to diversify their income by earning credits under the $2 billion Climate Solution Fund.

Changes to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) means farms will be able to get paid for soil carbon sequestration projects.

There will also be further opportunities once the $34m trial of the Agriculture Biodiversity Stewardship has been completed and the Australian Farm Biodiversity Certification Scheme has been developed.

The government is striving to creating "fair, strong and resilient" supply chains, requesting the competition watchdog to investigate a potential market power imbalance between supermarkets and farmers.

Country of Origin Labelling is being developed, while more than $100m will be invested to identified vulnerabilities in local supply chains.

Agricultural will also benefit from the $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative, which will see the government invest in six strategically important sectors, including the food and beverage sector.

Agriculture-related university courses will be reduced by 62 per cent and $250m will be invested in to access to up to 400 short courses for priority fields including agriculture to upskill the ag workforce.

Around $873m is committed for biosecurity and export programs in 2020-21, an increase of $243m since 2014-15.

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