It’s clear that this is a short-sighted Budget aimed at saving Tony Abbott’s job, rather than building Australia’s agriculture future.
Australian farmers will be disappointed that the only significant reference to agriculture in Joe Hockey’s Budget speech was yet another re-announcement of the concessional drought loans money his agriculture minister hasn’t been able to spend.
He hasn’t been able to spend the money because it’s a failed policy.
The tax breaks to assist drought affected farmers do not come into effect until July 2016, delivering modest assistance in 2017; hardly helpful to farmers suffering their third year of drought.
The agriculture sector has now suffered 20 months without an agriculture policy.
The Budget provided an opportunity to correct the policy indifference but instead the Abbott Government gave the sector more uncertainty, stating:
“we will be releasing more details about our plans to strengthen agriculture production across Australia”.
That’s what they’ve been saying for all of their time in Government.
The Agriculture White Paper is now five months late and is nowhere to be seen.
This is not a Budget for Australia’s future; it’s a Budget to save Tony Abbott.