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Growing Agriculture and Boosting Biosecurity

25th May, 2017

Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Primary Industries and Water

The Hodgman Liberal Government has a target to grow the value of agriculture tenfold to $10 billion by 2050 and to achieve this we are working in partnership with our farmers and primary industry groups.

The 2017-18 State Budget is all about Building Tasmania’s Future through strategic investment in our agricultural industries to support growth and jobs.

This includes:

$1.2 million for a Strategic Industry Partnerships Program to co-invest with industry peak bodies and organisations in supporting growth and prosperity in our agri-food sectors. Initial priorities include promoting Tasmanian agriculture and food, dairy industry strategic development, wine quality and growth, rural business support, innovative farming practices and seafood industry collaboration.

$30,000 for a Bee Industry Futures Report to guide industry development, pollination services and sustainable access to leatherwood within World Heritage areas.

An additional$2 million for agricultural landscape rehabilitation through on-farm landcare works in partnership with Natural Resource Management groups to repair and rehabilitate rivers and streams.

$20 million for the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) to continue its world-class work in agricultural research, development and extension that is vital for growing Tasmanian agriculture’s productivity and developing future technologies and opportunities for our farmers.

$750,000 for a Dairy Industry Stock Underpass Pilot Program to off-set the costs associated with establishing stock underpass infrastructure, improving farm and road safety and increasing farm efficiency.

Through the Brand Project we will invest $500,000 in Tasmania’s brand to differentiate and market Tasmania as the best place to live, work, visit, invest and raise a family. This work includes our agriculture and fisheries sectors as a key part of Tasmania’s excellent reputation both interstate and overseas.

$600,000 for Safe Farming Tasmania, this funding will enable the program to be delivered on an ongoing basis providing farmers with practical safety assistance on-farm.

Since 2015 the Government’s Safe Farming Tasmania Program has been changing the culture on the farm, to one where the safety of workers is always the number one priority.

Additional priorities for the year ahead include:

  • A new Crop and Pasture Seed Industry Plan developed in consultation with farmers and agribusiness to grow Tasmania’s place in this potentially high-value and rewarding market.
  • A new Charter for Working on Private Farm Land between State Government businesses and the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TFGA) to enhance relations between farmers and state utilities and landowner’s rights.
  • Working with farmers on practical strategies to improve pasture and livestock productivity to underpin our grazing and meat processing sectors funded through our existing Cultivating Prosperity R&D Collaboration Fund.

These initiatives build on our existing commitments to:

  • The continued rollout of Tranche 2 irrigation schemes.
  • Existing flood and catchment recovery support programs.
  • Fruit industry market and development activities.
  • The rural financial counselling service.

Being part of a 21st century global market we must also work to reduce the risks to our primary industries and environment outside our borders, at our borders and post border.

The Budget contains more than $5.6 million to boost Biosecurity. This includes:

$1.54 million to support animal welfare, biosecurity and livestock productivity through new livestock officers within DPIPWE for production animals and increased support for RSPCA inspectorate services to focus on the welfare of domestic animals.

$632,000 to increase the capacity of seasonal Biosecurity Frontline Services to respond to demand during peak times of activity and support the primary industry sector to grow.

$1.44 million to support the implementation of the soon to be released Tasmanian Cat Management Plan in partnership with Local Government.

$2 million to continue to improve the management of weeds, vertebrate pests and invasive species and other risks to animal and plant industries.

These initiatives are on top of the doubling of biosecurity detector dogs to twelve teams, constructing the Powranna Truckwash, new signage at border entry points and laboratory upgrades.

Through our AgriFood Plan more than $44 million is being invested in initiatives across agriculture, fisheries, biosecurity, and research and development so that we can grow more, make more and protect our vital primary industries sector.