The Federal Government will extend a helping hand to would-be farmers looking to buy their first farm.
Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has welcomed the initiative, which is part of a fresh suite of measures to help farmers and create jobs in regional areas like Gippsland.
“There are young people who are keen to get started as farmers on their own properties, but, like many first home buyers, they don’t have the means to do so,” Mr Chester said.
“The level of equity and deposit needed is daunting, and basic stock and equipment is a further cost.
“It’s important that we do what we can to encourage and support the next generation of farmers, graziers and agricultural producers.”
The Federal Government has extended the mandate of the Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) to create a new loan product to assist new entrants.
‘AgriStarter’ concessional loans of up to $2 million will help new farmers purchase a majority share or total share of a farm. The loans will also help farming families plan for intergenerational transfers.
Under its plan to support agriculture, fisheries and forestry, a re-elected Federal Government will also:
• develop and trail a new $34 million Agricultural Stewardship Program and an Australian Farm Biodiversity Certification Scheme to improve and maintain on-farm biodiversity;
• accelerate horticulture market access and develop a 2030 protected horticulture strategy;
• establish a National Agricultural Labour Advisory Committee to advise on farm labour and agriculture sector workforce challenges and solutions; and
• implement a Dairy Mandatory Code of Conduct and provide funding to Australian Dairy Farmers to investigate alternative milk marketing tools to increase price transparency.
Mr Chester said the government’s plan would help agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors to grow to be worth a total of $100 billion by 2030.
“Agriculture, fisheries and forestry remains a critical element of Gippsland’s economy, particularly in thousands of jobs they support, both directly and indirectly, and through on-going investment in our region,” Mr Chester said.
“The Federal Government has pursued new and improve trade and market access for the benefit of our agricultural producers and exporters.
“It’s clear we urgently need to do more to help in the short term due to drought. We also need to look to what we can do now for the future when our farmers are back on their feet so these sectors can grow and strengthen.”