Farmers win in budget

By: Calista Bruschi

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There will be tax breaks for all Australian farmers and additional drought assistance under the Federal Government’s latest budget announcement. Calista Bruschi writes.

Farmers win in budget
A number of measures have been committed to farmers in the Federal Government budget, including more than $300 million in drought assistance to help those struggling most.

Farmers have welcomed the more than $300 million commitment from the Federal Government in Tuesday night’s budget to help them get through the tough times.

Treasurer Joe Hockey announced that as part of the Government’s economic plan, there needed to be preparation for the droughts and tough times beyond today.

"All farmers will get an immediate tax deduction for new investment in water facilities, and a three-year depreciation allowance for all capital expenditure on fodder storage assets," Hockey says.

Additionally, all farmers will be able to fully deduct the cost of new fencing from their tax bill — an initiative Hockey says will help improve productivity and environmental management of the land.

As of 7:30pm on Budget night, small items of plant and equipment such as post-hole diggers, chainsaws, motorbikes, quad runners, cattle crushes, pumps, generators, welders, second-hand vehicles and other items to the value of up to $20,000 and used on the farm are instantly 100 per cent tax deductible.

Queensland Farmers Federation president Joanne Grainger applauded the budget for recognising the impact of the drought that has affected more than 70 per cent of the state.

"The Government’s drought assistance package is an investment in improving the future capacity of an industry that will be required to play an increasingly important role in the national economy over the coming years," she says.

Joe -Hockey _Budget -2015
Treasurer Joe Hockey delivers the budget in the House of Representatives in Parliament House on May 12. Photo by Stefan Postles/Getty Images

Other measures of the drought assistance package were announced by the prime minister Tony Abbott at the weekend and include:

  • $35 million stimulus package for the communities at the epicentre of the drought
  • An additional $25 million to combat pests such as wild dogs and pigs
  •  $20 million for social and mental health support programs
  • $1.8 million for more counsellors into rural areas

 

DEVELOPING AUSTRALIA’S NORTH

One of the centrepieces of Hockey’s budget was the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.

"This is a budget that unleashes our nation’s potential, and an extraordinary area of untapped promise is Australia’s north," Hockey said as he introduced the new $5 billion available for concessional loans for infrastructure.

"This is an exciting frontier for economic development that is filled with abundant resources and talented people.

"Its tropical climate is shared with two-thirds of the world’s population and of course it’s closer to our key trading markets than any other part of the country, but the north needs new infrastructure to get things moving," Hockey says.

He says the Government will partner with the Western Australian, Northern Territory and Queensland governments to provide large concessional loans for the construction of ports, pipelines, electricity and water infrastructure that will open the northern frontier to greater business opportunities.

Cattle farmers in the north will also benefit in $101.3 million in funding over four years to improve road infrastructure for cattle supply chains. 

 

OTHER NOTABLE WINNERS

Small Business Winner Budget 2015
By far the biggest winner in this year’s budget is small business 

The other big winners in Tuesday’s budget are small business and families with young children.

The Government’s small business package is worth $5.5 billion including a 5 per cent tax discount for unincorporated small businesses that will apply up to $1,000 per year, a drop in the corporate tax rate from 30 per cent to 28.5 per cent for small businesses, the removal of fringe benefits tax on mobile devices, and immediate tax deductions on an unlimited number of assets to the value of $20,000 between now and June 2017 for anyone with an ABN so long as the purchases are legitimate business expenses.

Hockey announced measures to support Australian families with a $4.4 billion boost that aims to make early childhood care "more affordable, accessible and flexible".

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