Australian Government, 2009‑10 Budget
Budget

Part 2: Expense Measures

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Avian influenza border control — continuation

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry - - - - -

The Government will provide $15.0 million in 2009‑10 to the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service to maintain enhanced border controls, aimed at preventing the entry of avian influenza (bird flu) into Australia. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry — further efficiency

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry - -3.4 -3.2 -2.9 -2.5

The Government has identified further efficiencies related to departmental funding for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. This measure will provide savings of $12.0 million over four years through identifying lower priority activities that can cease with a minimal impact on the delivery of key Government objectives.

Drought assistance — Exceptional Circumstances assistance for primary producers

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of the Treasury - 211.2 - - -
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry - 194.3 - - -
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations 1.0 9.6 - - -
Centrelink 2.2 4.1 0.1 - -
Department of Health and Ageing 1.1 3.0 - - -
Total 4.3 422.2 0.1 - -

The Government will provide $561.7 million over three years to continue support for primary producers in regions that have been declared eligible for Exceptional Circumstances assistance. Exceptional Circumstances assistance provides interest rate subsidies and income support to assist viable farm businesses and farm families who have been adversely affected by the prolonged drought. Eligible recipients are also provided with a health care concession card and access to Youth Allowance for their children.

The off‑farm income exemption of $20,000 per annum and the off‑farm assets exemption of $750,000 will remain. This will enable assistance to continue to be provided to a wider range of primary producers in areas declared eligible for Exceptional Circumstances assistance.

Part of the cost of this measure in 2008‑09 will be met from within the existing resourcing of the Departments of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Treasury. Exceptional Circumstances interest rate subsidies are administered by the States. Under the new framework for federal financial relations, commencing 1 January 2009, payments to the States, with a few exceptions, will be made by the Australian Treasury to state treasuries.

Further information on individual programs can be found in various press releases issued by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

Drought assistance — Exceptional Circumstances assistance for small businesses — extension

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of the Treasury - 15.8 - - -
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry - 10.3 - - -
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations 0.1 0.5 - - -
Centrelink 0.1 0.3 0.2 - -
Department of Health and Ageing 0.1 0.2 - - -
Total 0.2 27.1 0.2 - -

The Government will provide $36.3 million over three years to continue support for small businesses with up to 100 employees that are dependent on business from farmers in regions declared eligible for Exceptional Circumstances assistance.

The small business assistance provides interest rate subsidies and income support to assist viable farm‑dependent businesses and families who have been adversely affected by the prolonged drought. Eligible recipients are also provided with a health care concession card and access to Youth Allowance for their children.

The non‑business salaries and wages exemption of $20,000 per annum and the non‑business assets exemption of $750,000 will remain. This will enable assistance to continue to be provided to a wider range of small businesses in areas declared eligible for Exceptional Circumstances assistance.

Part of the cost of this measure in 2008‑09 will be met from within the existing resourcing of the Departments of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Treasury. Exceptional Circumstances interest rate subsidies are administered by the States. Under the new framework for federal financial relations, commencing 1 January 2009, payments to the States, with a few exceptions, will be made by the Australian Treasury to state treasuries.

Further information can be found in various press releases issued by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

Drought assistance — interim income support for primary producers

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry - 0.5 - - -
Centrelink 0.2 .. - - -
Total 0.2 0.5 - - -

The Government will provide $1.5 million over two years to support primary producers in drought‑affected regions that have been declared eligible for interim income support.

Once a fully completed application for a region has been received by the Australian Government and has been deemed to show a prima facie case for an Exceptional Circumstances declaration, interim income support is made available to eligible primary producers on conditions equivalent to the Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment. Access to interim income support is available for up to six months while the Exceptional Circumstances application is assessed by the National Rural Advisory Council. Should the Government declare Exceptional Circumstances in that region, interim income support ceases and standard Exceptional Circumstances assistance arrangements commence.

The cost of this measure in 2008‑09 will be met in part from within the existing resourcing of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

Drought assistance — interim income support for small businesses

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry - .. - - -
Centrelink .. .. - - -
Total .. .. - - -

The Government will provide $79,000 over two years to continue support for small businesses with up to 100 employees that are dependent on business from farmers in regions declared eligible for interim income support.

Once a fully completed application for a region has been received by the Australian Government and has been deemed to show a prima facie case for an Exceptional Circumstances declaration, interim income support is made available to eligible small businesses on conditions equivalent to the Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment. Access to interim income support is available for up to six months while the Exceptional Circumstances application is assessed by the National Rural Advisory Council. Should the Government declare Exceptional Circumstances in that region, interim income support ceases and standard Exceptional Circumstances assistance arrangements commence.

The cost of this measure in 2008‑09 will be met in part from within the existing resourcing of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

Drought assistance — professional advice and planning

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry - 21.3 - - -
Centrelink - 1.6 0.2 - -
Total - 22.8 0.2 - -

The Government will provide $23.0 million over two years to continue to provide taxable grants of up to $5,500 to eligible farmers in Exceptional Circumstances‑declared areas for professional business and financial planning advice. The grants may be used to undertake a farm business viability assessment and to obtain financial and agronomic advice on changes that may be necessary to ensure the farm business recovers from the drought.

Drought assistance — re‑establishment assistance — continuation

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry - 24.7 - - -
Centrelink - 0.6 1.0 - -
Total - 25.3 1.0 - -

The Government will provide $26.3 million over two years to continue to assist primary producers in severe financial difficulty who decide to leave their farms. The assistance includes one‑off exit grants of up to $150,000. The net assets limit for determining eligibility for the full exit grant will be $350,000. The assistance also includes grants of up to $10,000 for advice and retraining, as well as up to $10,000 to assist farming families to relocate. The assistance is not dependent on primary producers being eligible for Exceptional Circumstances assistance.

Drought assistance — transitional income support — extension

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry - - - - -

The Government will provide $5.7 million in 2009‑10 to continue providing eligible farm families experiencing hardship with up to 12 months of income support payments equivalent to the Newstart Allowance. Eligibility criteria for assistance will include a similar income test to the Newstart Allowance and a limit on the net value of assets of $1.5 million. Recipients of Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payments are not eligible for this support. Applicants will be required to obtain and act on business viability advice and training available through the Australia's Farming Future — Climate Change Adjustment Program announced in the 2008‑09 Budget. The funding includes $0.7 million in 2009‑10 for Centrelink to deliver the program.

The cost of this measure will be met from within the existing resourcing of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

International mail program — continuation

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry - - - - -

The Government will provide $3.6 million in 2009‑10 to maintain the activities undertaken by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service in response to high quarantine risk mail entering Australia. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Land and Water Australia — cessation of funding

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Land and Water Australia - -5.0 -13.3 -13.6 -14.0

The Government will cease funding for Land and Water Australia in 2009‑10. Since Land and Water Australia commenced in 1990, a number of tertiary, public and private sector bodies have been established in the natural resource management research and development field. Priority research activities currently being undertaken by Land and Water Australia will be transferred to other agencies.

This measure will provide savings of $45.9 million over four years. Lower savings are expected in 2009‑10 due to the need to ensure Land and Water Australia's existing commitments are met.

Live Animal Trade Welfare Partnership

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry - - - - -

The Government will provide $1.6 million over three years from 2009‑10 to form a partnership with the live animal export industry to improve animal welfare outcomes in countries importing Australian livestock. This contribution, matched by industry, will provide capacity‑building and technical assistance. The measure will replace the animal welfare project component of the International Agriculture Cooperation — Live Animal Trade Program — continuation measure announced in the 2008‑09 Budget.

The cost of this measure will be met from within the existing resourcing of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

Quarantine border security — continuation

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry - - - - -
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service - - - - -
Total - - - - -

The Government will provide $132.4 million in 2009‑10 to maintain funding for quarantine border protection activities. The funding includes $63.8 million for the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and $68.6 million for the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service to maintain the enhanced level of quarantine screening in response to emerging quarantine risks and threats. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation — further efficiency

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation - -3.0 -3.0 -3.0 -3.0

The Government has identified further efficiencies in the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation. This measure will provide savings of $12.0 million over four years through identifying organisational efficiencies and reducing research duplication, while maintaining funding in priority areas.

Securing the Future: protecting our industries from biological, chemical and physical risks program — continuation

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry - - - - -

The Government will provide $5.0 million in 2009‑10 to continue to improve Australia's ability to detect and respond to biosecurity threats, and to minimise the costs to industry and government caused by established pests and exotic pest and disease incursions. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Small block irrigators — exit grant package — expansion

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry - - - - -
Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts - - - - -
Centrelink - - - - -
Total - - - - -

The Government will provide an additional $45.4 million in 2009‑10 to increase the maximum size of farms that may be eligible for small block irrigator exit assistance from 15 to 40 hectares. Taxable grants that are available to eligible applicants for the removal of irrigation plantings and infrastructure will also be increased from up to $10,000 to up to $20,000. This additional support will bring total Government funding for the program to $107.0 million over two years from 2008‑09.

The program assists small block irrigators in the Murray‑Darling Basin affected by drought and climate change who wish to cease irrigation farming but stay on the farm. The program provides taxable exit grants of up to $150,000 to eligible irrigators with permanent water entitlements of at least 10 megalitres who sell their water entitlements to the Australian Government and cease irrigation farming. The program also provides complementary taxable grants of up to $10,000 for advice and training.

The cost of this measure will be met from within the existing funding for the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure program administered by the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Program delivery costs will be met from within the existing resources of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and Centrelink.

This measure was agreed with Senator Xenophon as part of negotiating the Nation Building and Jobs Plan announced on 3rd February 2009.

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