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Budget 2004: $66.7m to continue successful FarmBis program.



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DAFF04/115WT - 11 May 2004

$66.7m to continue successful FarmBis program

The Australian Government's successful FarmBis program has received a further $66.7 million over four years in the 2004-05 Australian Government Budget, Australian Agriculture Minister Warren Truss announced today.

"Since 1997, FarmBis has laid the foundation of a strong learning culture among primary producers," Mr Truss said.

"About 150,000 primary producers across Australia have participated in FarmBis-subsidised training and education, resulting in improved business management skills, adoption of innovation and financial self-reliance, as well as a significant increase in the number of producers showing a more business-oriented attitude to farming.

"Today, FarmBis is widely recognised and supported by primary producers across rural and regional Australia. It has had a strong impact on building the competitiveness and capacity of our primary producers to meet the challenges of global change."

The Budget provides $13.6 million in 2004-05; $17.7 million in 2005-06; $17.8 million in 2006-07; and $17.6m in 2007-08. Like the existing FarmBis arrangements, the funding depends on matching funds from the States and the Northern Territory.

"Further funding for FarmBis over the next four years will build on the momentum achieved under the program, and ensure primary producers and rural land managers continue to have opportunities to enhance their business and natural resource management skills," Mr Truss said.

"The benefits of adopting this culture of learning and innovation extend beyond the individual producer and flow directly to the wider rural community.

"They increase the capacity of regional communities to respond positively to change, and adopt and benefit from innovation. This contributes directly to improved productivity, competitiveness and sustainability of farm enterprises, and the long-term viability of rural communities."

Key delivery principles of the FarmBis program will be retained, including:

● learning activities to be driven by primary producer demand and

delivered on a competitive basis; ● a focus on short and medium-term learning activities; and

● a requirement for participants to contribute to the cost of their

learning.

"In the spirit of cooperation that has been a feature of the FarmBis program, I am committed to working with my State and Territory colleagues to ensure we can continue to provide these important training opportunities for our primary producers," Mr Truss said.

Further media inquiries:

Minister Truss' office: Tim Langmead - 02 6277 7520 or 0418 221 433

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