Key funding announcements for agriculture and primary producers in Federal Budget 2023/24
10 May 2023
The Australian Government has recently announced its budget for 2023-24, with significant changes to funding and grants across various sectors.
One of the key highlights is the National Reconstruction Fund (NRF) receiving $61.4 million to co-invest in transformational projects across specific industries. The NRF aims to support various sectors, including resources, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, medical science, renewables, low-emission technologies, defence capability, transport, and enabling capabilities like engineering, data science, and software development.
While the NRF Corporation will not offer grants, it will provide funding for initiatives that help diversify and improve Australia's industry and economy. Let's take a closer look at some of the key highlights in specific sectors.
The budget includes a $5.7 billion Strengthening Medicare initiative with the largest measure being $3.5 billion to increase bulk billing for GP services to concession card holders and those under 16. There are also programs to enhance after hours GP services, attract more GPs to rural areas, and train more nursing staff in primary care. $445.1 million is allocated for the Workforce Incentive Program to employ more health professionals. For aged care, the government will reallocate $1.7 billion over four years from health and aged care plans to other programs with $515 million allocated for pay increases for aged care workers and $112 million for GPs in Aged Care. There is also funding allocated for improving Australia's digital health infrastructure.
Agriculture and Primary Production
$302.1 million was allocated to support a climate smart, sustainable agricultural sector including funding for Natural Resource Management organisations, on ground projects, support for farmers to improve soil health and natural resources and funding to maintain delivery capability.
The National Soil Action Plan has been allocated funding and $1 billion has been directed to strengthen Australia's biosecurity system, including $845 million to maintain biosecurity functions.
$302.1 million over five years has been allocated to support farmers’ transition to a low emissions future and strengthen agricultural sustainability through the Natural Heritage Trust. The National Farmers Federation (NFF) supported the proposal, for regional independent extension officers to assist farmers to better understand carbon both from an on-farm and market perspective.
The NFF also welcomes the support of the introduction of legislation to treat carbon and biodiversity income as farm income.
The budget is also committing funding to improve the PALM scheme which supports labour for Australian farmers.
$72.4M has been allocated to retain and recruit early childhood educators with a focus on initiatives that support better educational outcomes for First Nations peoples.
These initiatives include funding for the Clontarf Foundation to extend its existing program, the expansion of the City Country Partnerships Program, and the extension of the Women in STEM Cadetships and Advanced Apprenticeships Program. Additionally, the government will provide funding to deliver critical functions, and will broaden the cohorts eligible for teaching bursaries.
The Government will spend $2 billion under the Regional Accelerator Program targeting regional infrastructure, manufacturing, skills and training, R&D and education.
The government plans to redirect funding from the Employment and Workplace Relations portfolio to other policy priorities. This will result in the following changes:
Reducing place allocations for the Self Employment Assistance Small Business Coaching program.
Temporarily reducing uncommitted Industry Workforce Training program funding.
Ceasing the Entrepreneurship Facilitators Program.
Reducing funding to support Job and Skills Councils.
Reducing the departmental operating funding of the Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Not proceeding with the Accelerating Australian Apprenticeships Pilot program.
Rescoping the Skills Assessments Pilots.
Ceasing the Career Revive program.
The Federal Budget 2023-24 has introduced significant funding and grants changes aimed at supporting various sectors and improving the Australian economy. The National Reconstruction Fund (NRF) will play a crucial role in co-investing in transformational projects across specific sectors, such as resources, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, medical science, renewables, low-emission technologies, defence capability, transport, and enabling capabilities. Moreover, the budget has allocated funds to enhance the healthcare sector, promote sustainable agriculture and primary production, improve the education system, and create employment opportunities. These measures are vital for Australia's economic growth and development and will have a positive impact on various industries and communities.
Check out the full coverage from the Federal Budget 2023/24 here.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect the thought or position of Findex Group Limited.