Our farmers and country communities remain at the core of Australia’s economy and identity.

We are working to support farmers and communities affected by drought.

We will do what it takes to help communities rebuild after devastating fires.

We are working to boost regional industries, grow regional economies and improve regional infrastructure and services.

BUSHFIRE RESPONSE

This season’s devastating bushfires require us to do everything possible to fight fires, protect lives, and support communities. This includes:

  • Deploying the Australian Defence Force – including boots on the ground, planes in the sky and ships at sea, to support the bushfire fighting effort and recovery.
  • Additional waterbombing – including $20 million to lease four extra planes, in addition to the $26 million already provided to the National Aerial Firefighting Centre, which provides specialised firefighting aircraft.
  • Immediate financial help – including a non-means tested Disaster Recovery Payment of $1,000 for eligible adults and $800 for children.
  • Rebuilding Communities – including $2 billion over two years to help rebuild communities and livelihoods.
  • Supporting emergency services volunteers – including funding financial support of up to $6,000 to those who have lost income as a result of volunteering to fight the fires.

DROUGHT RESPONSE

Our Government continues to stand with our drought-affected farmers and regional communities. Our National Drought Response Plan has three parts:

  • Helping those affected right now. This includes helping over 13,300 farming families, with around $100,000 paid over four years. It also includes other initiatives like rebates for water infrastructure, interest free loans, tax relief and rural financial counselling.
  • Supporting Wider Communities. This includes an additional $1 million for economic stimulus for 180 Councils, plus more money for: local roads and other infrastructure; schools and early learning centres and local charities.
  • Building a more drought resilient Australia. The $5 billion Future Drought Fund will help deal with future droughts. We are investing in 21 water infrastructure projects around the country.

MORE JOBS IN REGIONAL AUSTRALIA

In the first five years of the Liberal and Nationals Government, employment has grown by over 200,000 outside capital cities.

BOOSTING EXPORTS

Eight out of Australia’s top ten exports are produced in regional, rural and remote areas.

Australian exporters now have duty-free or preferential access to 1.7 billion more customers, through:

  • Trade agreements with China, Japan, Korea and Peru.
  • New agreements with Indonesia and Hong Kong.
  • The new Trans-Pacific Partnership – an Agreement between 11 major economies in our region with a combined GDP of $13.7 trillion.
  • The Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations.

These agreements have delivered real gains for our exporters. Beef exports to China have more than doubled and cheese exports to Japan have grown by 40%.

Our deal with Indonesia will abolish tariffs on 99.4 per cent of our exports to the largest economy in SE Asia.

Australian goods and services exports have grown from $306 billion in 2012-13 to $470 billion in the year to June 2019.

Australia recorded a trade surplus of $49.9 billion in 2018-19 – more than three times larger than the previous record.

Australia now has a current account surplus for the first time since 1975.

BOOSTING AGRICULTURE

Our 2015 Agriculture White Paper put in place a long term plan to help farmers, backed by funding, for:

  • Farm Business Concessional Loans.
  • Accelerated depreciation to help investment in fencing.
  • Water reticulation and fodder storage.
  • Stronger biosecurity and control of pest animals and weeds.
  • New investment in R&D.

Country of Origin Labelling laws mean Australian customers can see which products are Australian made and contain Australian ingredients.

To support Australian farmers with labour shortages, we are making the Working Holiday Maker Visas and the Seasonal Worker Program more flexible.

To better showcase agriculture we are:

  • Funding school student visits to farms and establish up to 80 mobile ‘mini farms’ in urban based schools to take farms to kids.
  • Investing $20 million to reinvigorate showgrounds that will help keep agricultural shows going and support communities together.

WATER SECURITY

We are investing $3.4 billion to build dams, weirs and pipelines, through the $1.4 billion National Water Infrastructure Development Fund and the $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility.

In addition to $13 billion for water reform in the Murray-Darling Basin, the Government has committed funding to the Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative.

LANDCARE

We are investing around $1 billion over five years in Landcare.

This includes the Regional Land Partnerships, which restore wetlands, protect threatened species and improve soil health on farms.

REGIONAL ROADS AND RAIL

Our record $100 billion investment in infrastructure includes major road and rail upgrades to better connect regional communities.

An historic investment of $9.3 billion in Inland Rail will change the way freight is moved between Melbourne and Brisbane, while boosting local economies and jobs.

Other important regional passenger and freight rail projects include: upgraded passenger rail lines across Victoria; the Beerburrum to Nambour Rail Upgrade in Queensland; the Gawler Rail Upgrade in South Australia; and Tasmanian freight rail upgrades.

To improve local roads, we are investing more in the Roads to Recovery, Black Spot, Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity, and Bridges Renewal programs.

Through our $4.5 billion Roads of Strategic Importance initiative we are upgrading key freight routes to help agriculture and mining exporters and improve safety on key tourism roads.

REGIONAL COMMUNICATIONS

Around 95 percent of premises in regional Australia are now able to connect to NBN high-speed broadband. NBN Co is on track to complete the network this year.

Our Mobile Black Spots Program is delivering 1,047 new mobile phone towers and coverage to almost 40,000 more homes and businesses.

RURAL AND REGIONAL HEALTH

Australians living in rural and regional Australia have access to new services including new regional cancer centres and telehealth services.

Our $550 million Stronger Rural Health Strategy is delivering 3,000 more doctors and more than 3,000 extra nurses and allied health professionals in rural general practice over the next decade.

REGIONAL EDUCATION

To further help regional and rural education, over $600 million has been committed since 2016, including:

  • more than 3,000 Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships;
  • 21 Regional University Centres in regional and remote Australia; and
  • support for more students at five regionally focused universities.

Information current as at February 2020