Record $515 million for primary industries

Minister for Primary Industries Ian Macdonald said this year’s Budget will deliver upgraded biosecurity and research facilities, as well as significant investment into clean coal technology.

“This is a record Budget which recognises the State’s primary industries are the engine room of NSW,” Mr Macdonald said.

“More than 98,000 people are directly employed in primary industries in NSW in agriculture, fisheries, forestry and mineral resources, and there is more than double that in related services.

“This Budget is about maintaining our State’s world-class reputation for producing clean, fresh quality produce, that’s why we are investing in biosecurity, which protects us from outbreaks of animal and plant diseases.

“We are investing record amounts to maintain our leading broad ranging research, extension and industry development programs, as well as important capital works projects.

“As part of this year’s record breaking Budget we are continuing to invest in our research facilities at Wagga Wagga, where important research is being conducted into wine grape, canola, and sustainable farming systems, and where services such as feed quality testing are available to farmers.

“More than half NSW remains in drought and the Rees Government will continue to deliver funding and drought assistance measures to assist our State’s primary producers.

“For our State’s $13 billion mining industry, this Budget recognises the need to ensure necessary rehabilitation works are carried out and that investment continues in Clean Coal technology, to reduce our carbon footprint.”

Minister Macdonald said major initiatives in 2009-10 include:

$163 million for science and research activities and facilities, including $8 million for the relocation of facilities from Narara to the University of Newcastle’s Central Coast Campus at Ourimbah and $1.4 million to construct a new laboratory to upgrade research facilities at Wagga Wagga.

$157 million for enhancing the department’s Agriculture, Biosecurity and Mine safety group including $17.7 million this year for the ongoing biosecurity upgrade at the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute (EMAI) and $6 million towards combating exotic pests and diseases.

$71 million for Mineral resources including $1.9 million contribution towards derelict mine site rehabilitation and $16.5 million investment in the development of clean coal technology through the Clean Coal Fund, including the carbon capture and storage demonstration project.

$2.5 million for industry development assistance and restructure under Brigalow structural adjustment arrangements. It follows the 2005 Brigalow decision where around 350,000 hectares of new reserves were created in the Pilliga region of NSW.

Almost $1 million for the construction of artificial reefs off Newcastle for recreational fishers. $2.4 million investment into the development of state-of-the-art electronic information systems for catch reporting and quota trading.

“The NSW Government is working hard to support our State’s primary industries and promoting industry diversification, which helps stimulate economic activity in regional communities and secures jobs for future generations,” Minister Macdonald said.