Today in Parliament I will have an opportunity to speak on the Coalition Government’s Future Drought Fund Bill.
The Fund is a long-term investment to build drought resilience in Australian communities.
Food is one of the most basic necessities for survival, and we should be wise enough to recognise that the agriculture sector must be supported at the highest levels politically.
That is why the Future Drought Fund is so important, not only to our farmers and pastoralists, but to all of Australia.
The Fund will enable our $60 billion industry to reach new heights through improved performance.
This Government is focused on helping farmers and communities prepare for inevitable future droughts – it’s all about being proactive and planning ahead.
The legislation will establish a new, secure, revenue stream – which will grow to be worth $5 billion – for drought resilience, preparedness and recovery.
This forward-looking policy will pay off for decades to come by guaranteeing long-term revenue to build drought resilience.
The Future Drought Fund will help give our farmers and pastoralists tools to prepare for, manage and sustain their businesses through drought.
Most importantly for my electorate, from July 1, 2020, the Government will draw down $100 million per year to invest in important drought resilience projects.
This will include projects such as barrier fencing and water infrastructure.
The Goldfields Nullabor Rangelands Biosecurity Association is one such group which could benefit from this funding.
The group is seeking funds to build 500 kilometres of biosecurity fencing to protect farmland from feral animals on the more from drought-affected areas.
Since being elected to Government in 2013, we have kicked a lot of goals for the farming sector.
The Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, introduced back in 2016, provided a plan to grow agriculture, with a $4 billion investment in our farmers.
Some of the changes we have made include the Farm Management Deposit Scheme, which helps primary producers to deal with uneven income flows more effectively; offsets on fodder storage and fencing; and the $20,000 instant asset write-off.
Drought is a constant factor in Australian agriculture and the establishment of the Future Drought Fund will provide a new, secure, predictable funding stream for drought resilience into the future to ensure the potential of this vibrant industry is realised.