Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the 2016-2017 Federal Budget will support future water infrastructure and Australia’s agricultural sector.
The Coalition Government will commit $88million to build on initiatives contained in the $4billion Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper to strengthen farm businesses and reduce biosecurity risks.
Mr Joyce said the Coalition Government will establish the $2billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility from 1 July 2016, providing direct loans to the states and territories to construct dams, pipelines and job creating water infrastructure projects.
“The loan facility will stimulate and accelerate investment in major water infrastructure, such as dams, pipelines and managed aquifer recharge projects, supporting the agriculture and resources industries and rural and regional communities,” Mr Joyce said.
“The government is further investing in strengthening Australia’s biosecurity protection, with $15.9million over four years to build an advanced analytics capability within the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.
“The Biosecurity Advanced Analytics initiative will improve the department’s ability to turn information into intelligence to better manage biosecurity risks that threaten our agricultural sector, the rural communities that depend on them, the environment and the broader economy.
“This will increase our ability to know why, when, where and what pests and diseases should be the focus of biosecurity activities – which will increase preparedness for potential pest and disease incursions.”
Minister Joyce said the project also underlined the government’s firm commitment to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
“We have made clear our intention to provide certainty and leadership in managing this precious resource for the future, and we will deliver on that,” Mr Joyce said.
“Work is currently underway to determine the amount of water required to sustain the basin, which will determine decisions on resourcing requirements.
“The Australian Government’s commitment to the agriculture and water resources portfolio through the 2016 Budget is clear.
“We have supported the core business of the portfolio, creating an environment to support profitable farm businesses, ensuring access to export markets for agricultural produce, managing biosecurity risk and investing in R&D to ensure our farmers remain world-class into the future.”