12 May 2023
The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TFGA) has expressed concern over the latest federal budget, claiming that it will exacerbate existing cost-of-living pressures faced by Australians. The TFGA has criticised the budget for failing to address several pressing issues, including regional skilled labour shortages, the ongoing housing crisis, and increasing supply chain costs.
According to Ian Sauer, the President of the TFGA, the government has missed a critical opportunity to invest in programs that would address these challenges and support the country's agriculture sector. With a growing demand for skilled workers and a severe shortage of affordable housing in the state, the TFGA believes that the budget should have prioritised investments in education and housing initiatives.
Mr Sauer said, the budget has not been delivered for average Tasmanians or our farmers, instead it will continue to fuel inflationary pressures and compound supply chain issues.
“This budget could have gone further to encourage more skilled migration to Tasmania and address the housing and cost of living crisis in this state and we call on the government for greater support for farming businesses to address supply chain issues and promote regional economic growth”.
“Compounding cost of living issues this budget will deliver a 6% increase in the heavy vehicle road charge, which will undoubtedly be passed onto consumers in the end and is another kick in the guts for farmers as users of these services.
“Farmers are at the wellhead of the supply chain, they grow, process and transport our food and fibre and instead of easing the burden this budget puts them under greater pressure,” he said.
Farmers will also now be unfairly slugged to fund the nation's biosecurity for importations when farmers are already paying their fair share.
“It is beyond belief that farmers are footing the bill and it just means consumers will pay more for the basics when they get to the check out in the long run. What we need to see is a sustainable funding model where the cost is shared with importers of cars, white goods, and furniture.
On the question of investment into the state Mr Sauer said, “We do commend the government on its $109 million commitment towards the construction of the Northern Midlands Irrigation Scheme, and $62.1 million for the Sassafras-Wesley Vale Irrigation Scheme”.
Overall, the TFGA is disappointed with the latest federal budget, as it fails to adequately address some of the most pressing challenges facing Tasmanian agriculture and our society at large.
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