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Budget 2007: Budget disappointment for farmers.

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Media Release SENATOR KERRY O’BRIEN SHADOW MINISTER FOR PRIMARY INDUSTRIES, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY BUDGET DISAPPOINTMENT FOR FARMERS Shadow Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Forestry Kerry O’Brien said there is not an awful lot that is new in this budget for farmers. “Overall, it is disappointing. “Farmers will be concerned that funding has been transferred from the agriculture portfolio to the environment portfolio with expenditure for agriculture, fishing and forestry down nearly $100 million in 2007-08 and $714 million in 2008-09. “This is because the National Party Minister has lost influence in Cabinet and lost control over water, stewardship, climate change and the environment,” Senator O’Brien said. Senator O’Brien said on the environment, it’s all stick and no carrot. “There is an increase in funding for enforcement of Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act regulations but only a small amount of funding for stewardship. “Farmers are entitled to be cynical that there is more for enforcement than reward. “The stewardship money doesn't become available in any substantial way until 2009 and even then it seems to be limited to only one class of protection, so a lot of farmers will miss out. Senator O’Brien said there is assumption in the budget, both in terms of productivity growth and drought support that the drought is coming to an end. “However on ABC Radio’s AM program this morning the Treasurer said ‘It’s going to take years before the drought breaks’. “Even if we do get some rain, it will be several years before the farming sector can rebuild. “Farmers will want to know why the government has made only minor provision for drought beyond 2007,” Senator O’Brien said.

Senator O’Brien said on climate change, farmers will be anxiously waiting the report of the Prime Minister’s Emissions Trading Taskforce.

“Farmers have been talking to me about their important role in carbon sequestration and ways they might be able to use to advantage their modern practices, such as conservation tillage to gain a benefit and contribute to managing climate change.

“But there is nothing in this budget for them.

9 May 2007 Contact: Senator Kerry O’Brien 0419 007 780 Martin Breen 0407 435 624