Representative farming body, GrainGrowers, has questioned the Federal Government’s commitment to freight corridors following the release of the Federal Budget.
While it welcomed the $17.9 billion for new and improved infrastructure, more was needed to advance the industry and help grain farmers play their part in Australia’s economic recovery the group said in a recent statement.
“We are calling for funding on the basics such as money to keep our existing infrastructure in a reasonable condition so we can get our grains to the local site or onto the freight corridors to ports,” Brett Hosking, GrainGrowers Chair.
“These announcements will enable growers and the grains sector to maintain its current position, but what the Australian economy needs is growth,” he said.
The Budget was found wanting when it came to several key items according to GrainGrowers.
Among these were the strengthening of critical inputs on the supply chain; greater security to sustain market access; overhauling freight infrastructure; a better mechanism to level the playing field within the grains supply chain; a reset of Australia’s biosecurity; and the development of climate adaption tools.
The wins for Australian growers included funding to improve mobile towers on key transport routes and to expand fixed wireless, additional funding to connect regional ports and support for growers looking at carbon and biodiversity.
“There are still opportunities that decision makers need to consider, particularly as they focus on their election commitments. Growers utilise good business decision making processes and government’s role is to make the investments and the settings that support this,” said Hosking.
“I have spoken to growers who have roads that are unsafe for their vehicles and equipment, some who have even had contractors refuse to complete work because they won’t travel along them,” he said.
“Our growers produce almost $13 billion in gross value to the Australian economy. We want to produce more bumper harvests, but we need investment in the right tools to support this.
“We believe that working in partnership with our political leaders produces the best outcomes for our growers and the challenges facing growers, and the community where they work and live, will be addressed.”