Key measures to aid the industry’s economic recovery include the temporary full expensing of assets and initiatives to bolster the ranks of on-farm workforces.
Welcome extension of asset investment incentives
BDO in Brisbane Partner, Jodie Knowlton, supports many Queensland rural producers. She said since the previous budget, agribusinesses have taken advantage of the low interest rate environment by investing in new equipment and expanding their businesses by buying more land.
“The increased demand for equipment is industry wide, resulting not just in equipment shortages, but delays in completing construction and installation projects,” Ms Knowlton said.
“Under the new budget measures, assets installed ready for use on or before 30 June 2023 will continue to be eligible for the deduction, which is a welcome amendment when you consider the significant cost of agricultural equipment and the pent up demand following under spending during drought years.”
Agriculture on the frontline
Australia’s biosecurity capabilities will get a boost with $228.9 million in funding allocated across technology investments, information systems and analytics capabilities.
“This funding recognises the role of biodiversity as a key competitive advantage for Australia’s agricultural sector and economy,” Ms Knowlton explained.
The biosecurity measures include:
- Investing in technology to detect and target biosecurity risks, such as African swine fever
- Ensuring the biosecurity system is underpinned by robust information systems and analytical capabilities
- Processing and inspecting offshore packaging
- Advertising to build community and industry awareness of biosecurity risks
- Funding programs to gather information and understand Australian soils
- Undertaking feasibility studies (eight across Queensland) in support of irrigation projects.
“The funding directed to initiatives focused on understanding Australian soils aligns with current market recognition of the opportunities available from regenerative agriculture,” Ms Knowlton said.
Boosting the agricultural workforce
Ms Knowlton said that in the face of highly publicised farmworker shortages, it is good to see measures in this year’s budget that include further opportunities for temporary visa holders to take on work in the agriculture sector.
“Student visa holders will be able to work in excess of 40 hours per fortnight, aligning with measures allowing such visa holders to also work in the healthcare and aged care sectors,” Ms Knowlton outlined.
“In addition, temporary activity visa holders won’t be required to demonstrate their attempt to depart Australia if they intend to undertake agricultural work.”
An extra $1.6 million has also been allocated to assist job seekers who relocate and begin work in the sector, and a further $29.8 million has been committed to helping attract and retain skilled workers to create a technologically proficient agriculture workforce of the future.
Helping the north to scale
$180 million in funding has been committed to support economic growth in northern Australia through the ‘Our North, Our Future: 2021-26 – Next Five Year Plan’.
“Across the next five years, Our North will help capitalise on regional strengths, assist businesses to scale up and diversify, and improve digital connectivity.” Ms Knowlton said.
The budget also includes an additional funding boost for the development of a Simplified Trade Platform, with more than $72 million allocated to supporting food and agriculture exporters to diversify or expand their export markets.
To discuss any queries regarding how the 2021 Federal Budget announcements will impact your agribusiness, contact a BDO Food & Agribusiness expert today.Jump to next article