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Part 2: Expense Measures (continued)

Agriculture and Water Resources

Better Management of Biosecurity Risks — advanced analytical capability

Expense ($m)
2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19 2019‑20
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

The Government will provide $15.9 million over four years from 2016‑17 to improve the analytical capability of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

This measure will establish an advanced capability to turn data into intelligence for use by government entities (States and Territories), and where relevant, across industry and the wider community, to better manage Australia's biosecurity risks.

Funding for this measure has already been provided for by the Government.

Farm Co‑operatives and Collaboration Pilot

Expense ($m)
2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19 2019‑20
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

The Government will refine a two‑year pilot program designed to improve access for farmers to training and information about co‑operatives, collective bargaining and innovative business models. The pilot was announced in the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.

The revised program — to be known as the Farm Co‑operatives and Collaboration Pilot — will focus on helping farmers to establish co‑operatives and adopt innovative business, and will be delivered by Southern Cross University.

The cost of this measure will be met from within the existing resources of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

Further information can be found in the press release of 14 April 2016 issued by the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.

Farm Household Allowance — transitional debt waiver

Expense ($m)
2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19 2019‑20
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources 2.7

The Government will provide $2.7 million in 2015‑16 to offer a transitional debt waiver to any Farm Household Allowance (FHA) recipients who incurred an income support debt arising from an underestimate of their annual business income in 2014‑15.

FHA recipients who incur an income support debt from 2015‑16 onwards will be subject to the usual debt recovery arrangements.

Managing Farm Risk Programme — efficiencies

Expense ($m)
2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19 2019‑20
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources ‑3.6 ‑1.9 ‑1.9 ‑1.8

The Government will achieve efficiencies of $9.2 million over four years from 2015‑16 in the Managing Farm Risk Programme (MFRP). A means test will be introduced to limit eligibility for the MFRP to farm businesses with annual revenue of less than $2.0 million.

The MFRP was announced in the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper (the White Paper), and provides rebates of up to $2,500 to help farm businesses with the costs of farm insurance advice and assessments to help them manage drought and other production and market risks. This programme is being delivered by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources instead of by the State governments, providing administrative savings. Consultation with industry suggests that demand at the time of the White Paper may have been over‑estimated. There are adequate funds available under the revised allocation to meet expected demand over the life of the programme.

The savings from this measure will be redirected by the Government to repair the Budget and fund policy priorities.

Further information can be found in the press release of 29 March 2016 issued by the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.

National Water Infrastructure Development Fund — additional funding

Expense ($m)
2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19 2019‑20
Department of the Treasury 9.5
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources ‑9.5
Total — Expense

The Government will provide an additional $9.5 million in 2016‑17 for the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.

This measure will help the Government respond to strong demand by funding additional water infrastructure feasibility studies in northern Australia.

The cost of this measure will be offset by redirecting funding from the Rural Research and Development for Profit program.

National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility

Expense ($m)
2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19 2019‑20
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources 0.9 0.9 1.9 3.8
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources 1.1 2.5 7.2 19.5

The Government will provide $2.0 billion in concessional loan funding (for a 10 year period from 1 July 2016) to establish the National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility. Loans will be provided to the States and Territories to support major water infrastructure projects.

Applications for loans will be assessed against projects' cost effectiveness and financial viability. The loan recipient will make interest‑only payments for up to the first five years of the loan term and will then have a further 10 years to repay the principal and any additional interest.

The cost to the Government of providing concessional loans will be offset over the life of the program by the interest revenue collected from loan recipients.

Rural Financial Counselling Service — additional counsellors

Expense ($m)
2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19 2019‑20
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources 1.7 1.8 1.8 1.8

The Government will provide $7.1 million over four years from 2016‑17 to maintain the additional rural financial counsellors in drought‑affected areas funded through the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper (the White Paper). The additional funding in the White Paper was a one‑off measure for 2015‑16 to provide increased resources to service providers in drought‑affected areas.

Continuing this funding will provide the equivalent of 15 extra counsellors each year to assist farming families to manage issues associated with drought and drought recovery. The funding will be targeted to regions in need, assessed on the basis of prevailing drought conditions.

This measure builds on the 2015‑16 Budget measure titled Supporting Drought Affected Communities — Immediate Assistance.

Streamlining Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Regulation

Expense ($m)
2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19 2019‑20
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority
Total — Expense
Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority
Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority

The Government will provide $17.1 million over four years from 2016‑17 to further reform agricultural and veterinary chemicals regulation.

This measure will improve the competitiveness of farmers by streamlining access to productivity‑enhancing chemicals, and increase our knowledge about chemical residues in the food chain and the environment.

Funding for this measure has already been provided for by the Government.