Dinty Mather and Bill McCormick
Australian Government expenditure on the agriculture
(including forestry and fisheries) function in
2019–20 is estimated to be $2.9 billion, representing less than 1
per cent of the Australian Government’s total expenditure.
This administrative category consists of:
- $943 million to industry assistance in 2019–20, which is made up
of a system of agricultural levies, funds from Government and special
appropriations. This includes:
million to the wool industry; $202 million to the grains industry; $48 million
to the dairy industry; $242 million to the cattle, sheep and pig industries; $381
million to fishing, horticulture and other agriculture; and $31 million in
assistance not allocated to specific industries.
- $299 million to rural assistance, which includes funding for
assistance for drought and other natural disasters affecting farmers.
- $776 million to natural resource development, which predominately
consists of funding for water reform under the National Partnership
Payments—Water and Natural Resources program, Water Reform program and
Commonwealth Environment Water program. At the time of writing, it is not clear
what programs contribute to the ‘other’ natural resource development component,
other than the Agricultural Stewardship Package and Pest Animal and Weeds
- $823 million for general administration, which includes funding
to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.
Table 1: total agriculture and water expenditure
|Natural resources development
|| 3 150
|| 2 872
|| 3 076
|| 2 983
|| 3 014
|Net capital investment*
Source: Australian Government, Budget strategy
and outlook: budget paper no. 1: 2019–20, 2019, p. 5-33.
Figures may not add due to rounding.
*Includes funding for water purchasing.
Table 2: natural resources development expenditure
|Sustainable management - natural resources
Source: Australian Government, Budget strategy and outlook:
budget paper no. 1: 2019–20, 2019, p. 5-34.
Note: Figures may not add due to rounding.
Agriculture expenditure is
expected to decline by 2.2 per cent in real terms over the period between 2019–20
and 2022–23. This reflects:
- A decline in rural assistance expenditure by 13 per cent between
2010–20 and 2022–23, largely due to an expected wind-down of drought-related
assistance over the forward estimates period.
- The natural resources development sub-function will increase in
real terms between 2019–20 and 2022–23 by 14.7 per cent. This is primarily due
to the increase in funding under the Sustainable Rural Water Use and
Infrastructure and from the Water for the Environment Special Account to meet
the commitments of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan.
Significant policy announcements
Table 3: selected expense measures, agriculture and water
|Agriculture Stewardship Package
|Enhancing Australia’s Agricultural Trade
|Red Imported Fire Ants Eradication Program — acceleration
The $34 million Agriculture
Stewardship Package involves $30 million over four years for: a trial
grants program on farm biodiversity enhancement and associated agricultural
productivity improvements; and the development of a national policy on
agricultural biodiversity. There is also $4 million to develop and trial a farm
biodiversity certification scheme to assist farmers to market their produce as
being biodiversity friendly in Australia and overseas.
Agricultural Trade is a suite of measures designed to reduce the costs,
non-trade barriers and risks for Australian agricultural exporters. This
includes continued assistance to small exporters.
Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program will bring forward funding from the National
Partnership on Pest and Disease Preparedness and Response Programme to
immediately extend red imported fire ant eradication into newly defined areas.
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