Andrew Metcalfe AO, Secretary
Tuesday, 14 May 2013
Budget provides certainty for DAFF
The 2013–14 Federal Budget sets out the government’s priorities, and is a key driver of the department’s business planning process.
The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) Budget for 2013-14 of $1.655 billion will ensure that Australia’s agriculture, fishing, forestry and related industries are well-positioned to respond to future challenges and opportunities.
The 2013–14 Federal Budget measures will allow the portfolio to implement National Drought Program Reform with the states and territories; including a $99.4 million investment over four years in the new Australian Government funded Farm Household Allowance, and provide continued investment to implement the biosecurity reform agenda.
The National Drought Program Reform Package will focus on preparedness and risk management so farmers and their families are ready for the difficult times that are often encountered in Australian farming.
The National Drought Program Reform package will be implemented from 1 July 2014 and will include:
- the Farm Household Allowance
- ongoing access to Farm Management Deposits and taxation measures
- a national approach to farm business training
- a coordinated approach to social support services
- tools and technologies to inform farmer decision-making.
As a national package, these measures will also be complemented by a range of State and Territory Government initiatives.
The Farm Household Allowance is a central part of the National Drought Program Reform package. The allowance will give eligible farmers and their partners experiencing hardship up to three years of income support, paid fortnightly.
The new allowance will begin 1 July 2014, and will replace the Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment and the Transitional Farm Family Payment.
Included in the 2013–14 Federal Budget measures was continued funding certainty for the biosecurity reform agenda. Australia’s biosecurity system is at the heart of our position as a trading nation and underpins Australia’s reputation as a reliable producer of quality food and fibre.
The department will receive $117.9 million through the Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio in 2013–14 to deliver a modern biosecurity system, comprising:
- $73.3 million for quarantine border security
- $30.6 million for moving core functions towards reform
- $9 million for information communication technology systems
- $5 million for foundation elements of biosecurity reform.
The reform agenda focuses on building a sustainable system that manages risk across the continuum to better support consistent service delivery onshore, at the border and offshore. It focuses on providing effective biosecurity risk management underpinned by sound evidence and policy, improving the efficiency and responsiveness of operations and strengthening stakeholder relationships.
DAFF is funded to continue design and construction of a new post entry quarantine facility for high-risk plant and animal imports. In 2013–14, the allocation to this initiative is $60.6 million.
Funding of $13 million in 2013–14 will be available through Caring for our Country for eradication programs of nationally significant pests and diseases.
To find out more visit the Federal Budget page.
Our department has a large and complex grouping of functions. We have a research arm, a policy arm and an operational arm – but all these functions, diverse as they may be, make up a logical grouping that works together for the interests of our portfolio industries.
And there is a lot of work ahead of us this year in order to improve the way we do this. Some of our major commitments include:
- continuing to work toward new biosecurity legislation
- begin building the new post entry quarantine facility with the plan that it will be in staged use from 2015
- finalise changes to the new Biosecurity Import Conditions software known as BICON
- look at how to modernise our cost-recovery arrangements
- improve our preparedness in the event of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease
- look at ways to improve our data collection so we can better-target high-risk activities – this would mean faster clearance for our compliance clients.
And along with all this, there’s the daily business of inspecting, checking and clearing people and goods as they move in and out of the country.
Overall, we face the next financial year in good shape, able to continue our work and with certainty that our business and programs are supported.
I look forward to continuing to work with you in the year ahead.
31 May 2013