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Wednesday, 4 May 2016
Page: 4362


Ms LANDRY (Capricornia) (14:34): My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources. Will the Deputy Prime Minister update the House on how last night's budget is underpinning the coalition's support for Australian agriculture? How is this government's plan to deliver jobs and growth benefiting not only the people of Capricornia but the whole nation?

Mr JOYCE (New EnglandDeputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources) (14:34): I thank the honourable member for her question. I know she has a distinct interest in agricultural issues because of the region she lives in and the fact that it is at the centre of the beef capital of Australia, in Rockhampton. Last night's budget did indeed build on what we are doing in agriculture. Not only have we taken agricultural exports to being the second-largest export, after iron ore, but we continue to build on the work we have done, especially through the agriculture white paper—the fact that we have a new country of origin labelling scheme being rolled out, clearly describing the proportion of what is inside the packet that comes from our nation, the fact that we are continuing to invest in research and development, and the fact that we work on the back of the 100 per cent write-off on water reticulation and on fencing and the write-off over three years for fodder storage. We also acknowledge that we work on the back of what we have done in getting an ACCC commissioner in to make sure that famers are dealt with fairly, and the $20,000-a-year small plant write-off, which is now extended to $10 million, and that is incredibly important. And there is the work we have done on co-ops, and the work we have done on new Foreign Investment Review Board guidelines, and drought concessional loans: over 800 people receiving over $400 million. That is not a bad turnaround considering that when we actually arrived in government only eight had been given out, and now we have 800. That is 100 times better than with the Labor-Greens-Independents alliance.

But two things that are vitally important in last night's budget are what we are doing with water storage and what we are doing with transport, especially the inland rail. In water storage we have put aside $½ billion already for the assessment and for capital grants to build new dams. I know there are so many areas in the Fitzroy—Eden Bann, Rookwood and further north—and the Ord. I know Wellington also has a strong interest. These areas want water storages built, and we have a $2 billion concessional loan facility to assist us to build these water storages, because we are not scared of building the water storage. We are not scared of taking our nation forward.

We can see a great metaphor for what happens under Labor with—it is actually in my own electorate—Chaffey Dam. When we arrived it was underfunded, unbuilt, unapproved. And we will open it on Friday. That is the sort of delivery that we do, because we are 'doers' on this side. We actually make things happen.

It is not just there. It is also on the inland rail—so often just a discussion piece by Labor, the Greens and the Independents, but we put close to $600 million on the table for that because we believe that there should be a corridor of commerce from Brisbane through to Melbourne, in the western regions of New South Wales and Queensland and through Victoria to give those real opportunities. This is a great budget for regional people. It is a great budget for agriculture. It is a great budget for Central Queensland right down to Victoria and everywhere in between, and to the west and to Tasmania. (Time expired)