Western Australia’s peak agricultural advocacy group, WAFarmers, has cautiously welcomed its release, recognising that the developmental blueprint is a good start.
WAFarmers President Dale Park said it is pleasing to see that infrastructure will receive significant funding.
“Agriculture is an intrinsic part of Northern Australia but it will require a lot of support to reach its full potential,” Mr Park said.
The government’s commitment, in terms of funding and policy, will be a welcome contribution to the region if it has long term bipartisan support.
“The bottom line is, they’ve taken the first step but there is a lot of work still yet to be done” Mr Park said.
Key projects for the agriculture sector that are part of the announcement include:
- $200 million to build water infrastructure in the north and tied to developing secure water rights as part of a new National Water Infrastructure Development Fund
- $75m for a northern Cooperative Research Centre to focus on agriculture, food and northern health
- $600m for priority road projects
- Funding to assist in finalising native title claims
- Expanding the Seasonal Worker Program to all agricultural industries
- Broadening eligibility criteria for access in northern Australia to skills and training under the Industry Skills Fund
- Retaining existing access to second year visas for backpackers who work on farms for 88 days and extending second year visa access to backpackers from other countries if they work on farms or in tourism in northern Australia
All media requests must be directed to WAFarmers Media and Communications Officer Sophie Kilby on (08) 9486 2100 or [email protected].