Farmers uninspired by Band-aid Budget

3 April 2019. Farmers across the country have been left uninspired by the Federal Federal Government’s proposed 2019-20 Budget. Despite disaster relief and recovery funding, it falls well short of much-needed support for long-term strategies to address climate change.

Farmers for Climate Action CEO Verity Morgan-Schmidt said: “The Budget completely fails to provide economic support for long-term strategies to address climate change. Without it, the much-welcomed disaster relief and recovery funding is like applying a Band-aid to a broken leg.

“This Budget shows that the Coalition just doesn’t take climate change seriously, as evidenced by the cutting of spending from the Climate Solutions Package from $200 million per year to $133 million.

“Australia has seen a decline in environmental funding of over 39% since 2013-2014, as the realities of climate change are increasingly being felt. Scientific funding has also been cut over the past six years. The agricultural supply chain extends beyond the farm gate; we’re dependent on a healthy environment, and on a well-resourced research sector to help us address climate change.”

Positive outcomes of the Budget included flood recovery support for North Queensland, $4.2 million to improve and maintain the National Drought Map and, of course, the extension of the Farm Household Allowance and the provision of funding for emergency response via the $3.9 billion emergency response fund.

Ms Morgan-Schmidt also acknowledged the $50.4 million allocated to support feasibility studies into microgrids in rural, regional and remote communities, additional resourcing for the Bureau of Meteorology, the previously announced $30 million for a biodiversity stewardship pilot program, and the $4 million for a biodiversity certification scheme.

Crookwell farmer and Deputy Chair of Farmers for Climate Action Charlie Prell said: “Farmers across Australia have been calling out for policy certainty and for the delivery of tangible outcomes via a National Strategy on Climate Change and Agriculture. Despite agreement to progress this via the state and Federal Agriculture Ministers’ Forum (AGMIN), the Budget provides no tangible funding commitments to turn this into reality.

“The Budget is a start but it misses the mark for farmers who are battling extreme weather events. The failure to rule out funding for new and refurbished coal and gas plants essentially means that, rather than supporting action to address climate change, the Federal Government is prepared to put money into the drivers of climate change.

“As farmers, we’re already being hit hard by climate change. It’s time to pull out all the stops and rise to the challenge of addressing this critical issue. This Budget is one small step on a very long road.”

Farmers for Climate Action is a movement of farmers, agricultural leaders and rural Australians working to ensure that farmers, who are on the frontlines of climate change, are a key part of its solution.