A tough Australian budget must not hinder economic drivers says union

As Australia prepares for an austere Federal Budget tomorrow, the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) is urging the Government to ensure any measures will not adversely affect a sector that is vital to sustaining the country’s future.

During his tour of regional Australia earlier this year, the Prime Minister acknowledged the vital role that agriculture plays in unleashing Australia’s potential.

“If our country is to prosper for decades, and indeed in the centuries ahead, we are going to need a strong and dynamic agriculture sector,” said Mr Tony Abbott.

“I think that farming is going to be a very, very significant part of our economic future. At some point we may not be exporting as much iron ore, but we want to be exporting plenty of foodstuffs to the growing middle class of Asia.

“We have got a tremendous opportunity, but we have got to keep the farming sector strong to make that happen,” Mr Abbott said.

President of the NFF, Mr Brent Finlay, said it is clear that there will be a significant challenges associated with this budget. However, he said it is critical that any Government action does not undermine agriculture’s ability to continue its significant contribution to the Australian economy.

“The Government has acknowledged that Australian agriculture is a powerhouse, providing economic, social and environmental benefits across the country,” said Mr Finlay.

“While the NFF welcomes any potential efficiencies in reviewing how the Government delivers its portfolio responsibilities, any cuts should not be detrimental to one of the few drivers of the nation’s income and export earnings.

“As such, we call on an effective and responsive Budget across a range of areas, including trade and market access, infrastructure and cutting red tape to further develop agriculture’s vast potential,” Mr Finlay said.

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