The VFF has reacted to last week’s federal budget with both praise and disappointment, with Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison receiving mixed reviews.
VFF president David Jochinke said he was pleased to see the Federal Government extend the scheme that allows small business owners to instantly write off assets worth up to $20000 for companies turning over less than $10million, but was unhappy there wasn’t more funding for rural telecommunications.
‘‘The government’s accelerated depreciation scheme is helping to secure the future of agriculture because when farmers invest in upgrading their businesses, entire communities benefit,’’ Mr Jochinke said.
‘‘We’ve been given one more year of the scheme, but what we really need is for it to be extended in perpetuity to ensure real benefits for rural business.’’
The federal budget was awash with investments in rural infrastructure, with $8.4billion for the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail Link and $20.2million for the Murray Basin Rail Project, with a further $461.2million earmarked for future Victorian Government projects.
Although Mr Jochinke said it was great to see the investment in rural infrastructure, he called on the state government to not leave rural Victoria out in the cold when it came to future funding.
‘‘Victoria has a long list of rural infrastructure projects which will improve our state’s agriculture opportunities and if there’s half a billion dollars sitting there looking for projects, the state government would do well to put more money into water and road initiatives,’’ he said.
The Mobile Black Spot Program failed to receive more funding from the budget, a fact Mr Jochinke said was disappointing and would see the VFF continue to lobby both federal and state governments for more funding.
‘‘Voice and data communications is an essential service that all Australians should be entitled to, but the telecommunications divide between cities and the regions is simply unacceptable,’’ he said.