DAIRY giant Fonterra says improving roads across south-west Victoria is crucial to not only the local community, but to the environment as well.
It's a 50/50 investment with the state government, which has already committed $17.4 million, to key roads including the Cobden to Warrnambool Road, the Cobden Stonyford Road, the Camperdown-Cobden Road and associated feeder roads.
Fonterra's Cobden site employs hundreds of locals and general manager of logistics Craig Dickason said road safety is paramount for milk tankers, as well as employees traveling to and from work.
"Fonterra has a large footprint in south-west Victoria with farmers and employees living right across the region, so the funding is good news for our business," he said.
"Every day our tankers are using these roads to collect milk off farm and deliver it to our Cobden site, home to Western Star butter.
"And, every day many of our 300 Cobden site employees use these roads to travel to and from work.
The improvements will not only make the roads safer for our people, our farmers and our communities, it will also mean less trucks on the road which will reduce carbon emissions.Fonterra
"We look forward to seeing the works start."
What's in the budget for farmers?
Red-hot investment in new farm machinery and equipment will be given extra fuel by the federal government's decision to extend the popular instant asset write-off scheme until June, 2023.
You can read more about that here.
Healthy soil was also pushed onto the national agenda, with the government getting its hands dirty and investing $197m over the next four years to begin implementing the 20-year National Soil Strategy.
The first wave of funding will support a two-year pilot will pay farmers rebates for comprehensively soil testing - the price of which is currently a big barrier to farmers establishing their baseline soil carbon level - and develop environmental markets that would allow farmers to be rewarded for activity soil stewardship.
A further $32m will go towards expanding the biodiversity stewardship pilot, which gives farmers another income stream via improving on-farm biodiversity.
The funding will allow farmers cash in on the emerging environmental market, through the rollout of the Biodiversity Certification label, allowing products to fetch premium prices, and the development of a biodiversity trading platform that links buyers and sellers of biodiversity services.
MORE BUDGET NEWS:
The 2021/22 Budget will see almost $30m over four years will be spent helping farmers attract and retain skilled workers, the popular instant business tax write-offs have been rolled over for another year and Rural Financial Counselling Services will receive a $5m top up.
A $10-billion reinsurance fund will be established for North Queensland, where premiums have become unaffordable for many businesses and homes due to the increasing frequency of natural disasters.
In response to the ACCC inquiry into the market power imbalance between farmers and large retailers, $5.4m will be spent on projects that "improve market transparency".
Many of the big-ticket regional items had already been announced in the weeks leading up to the budget, most of which followed the same theme of resilience, such as the $370m boost to the nation's biosecurity system.
More than $50m will go towards flood management projects and another $100m worth of drought resilience projects will be supported by the Future Drought Fund.
Internet and mobile coverage in regional Australia - particularly bushfire prone areas, will get a $170m boost, while a new government agency will be established to respond to natural disasters, with a $600m war chest to spend on risk management projects.
Even the trade portfolio was preaching the value of resilience. With no end in sight to the ongoing China trade tensions, millions have been committed to diversifying markets and $15m has been dedicated to increasing Australia's influence over global trade rules.
The $15-billion infrastructure spend was another key pillar of the budget.
IN OTHER NEWS:
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