Budget: Rebates, water buybacks and research please farmers

COMMITMENTS to retain the fuel rebate for farmers, stop the water buybacks and ongoing support for rural research in the Federal Budget, has pleased one of agriculture's peak bodies.

But the abolition of several key environmental programs has also disappointed the agriculture sector.

The National Farmers' Federation acknowledged the government had largely delivered on election commitments to the agriculture sector despite a tough budget.

NFF president Brent Finlay said they were disappointed to see major cuts to the Co-operative Research Centre Programme, and the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, and the abolition of the National Water Commission and the Environmental Stewardship Program.

"The (ESP) program was public investment for public benefit, and involved long-term investment to improve threatened ecological communities," he said.

He said the benefits from agricultural research and development to the Australian community were enormous, while money resulting from a rise in the fuel excise should fund key infrastructure projects in regional Australia.

"If the funding is raised in the bush, it needs to stay in the bush, via a transparent process," he said.

Mr Finlay said the NFF understood the budget required difficult decisions, such as significant reductions in government investment in natural resource management, abolition of the Australia's Brand for Food Programme and a reduction in funding for the International Agricultural Co-operation Programme.


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