14 May 2024

Media Article


Agricultural Industry Federal Budget Breakfast

15 May 2024 – National Press Club, Canberra

The Hon. Murray Watt, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry


Seftons’ Key Takeouts

What’s in it for agriculture and regional, rural and remote Australia?


The Hon. Murray Watt, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry addressed industry leaders at the annual Agricultural Industry Federal Budget Breakfast held this morning at the National Press Club in Canberra. Hosted by CropLife Australia, Seftons were in attendance to hear the Minister hand down his third budget for the sector.

The focus of this year’s $789 million agriculture budget was tabled by the Minister as “working with the sector to lift its sustainability”, pledging support to help the “sector mitigate and adapt to climate change”. Outlining the budget as taking the “next step forward, in what is arguably the biggest long-term challenge facing this sector as well as, being a massive opportunity”.

Announcing the “centrepiece” of last night’s Federal Budget as the $519.1 million for the “rejuvenated” Future Drought Fund (FDF), it will extend and refine existing FDF programs and the development of new initiatives. Including the continuation of the eight Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs with their local solution remit, extending learning and development opportunities through programs such as the Farm Business Resilience Program, First Nations initiatives, and mental wellbeing support.

The Minister also talked about the Government’s Net Zero initiatives, to “ensure agriculture and land sectors can meaningfully contribute to the whole of economies transition to net zero” by 2050, with $63.8million to support initial emission reduction efforts. Outlining there will be “more to say” over the next few months, the initial funding has been put on the table so farmers, land managers and their advisors can “get moving” to “integrate carbon emissions reduction knowledge and practices into their core business decisions and activities”. Although not mentioned in the Minister’s address, the Australian Carbon Credit Union scheme had $48 million allocated as part of the independent review of Australian carbon credit units.

Labelled by the Minister as the “sheep in the room”, the $107 million transition package for the phase-out of live sheep exports by sea was reiterated, following last weekend’s announcement. Slammed by the National Farmers’ Federation, who termed the transition package as the “biggest allocation of new funding for the sector”, it saw

NFF leaders along with some peak agricultural bodies stage a walk out during the Minister’s breakfast address. With the package directed towards expanding domestic sheep processing capacity, developing market opportunities and implementation of the phase-out of live sheep exports.

Agricultural Workforce measures were given a $1.9 million boost, including initiatives to support the continuation of National Farm Safety Week, the AgCAREERSTART gap year employment program and the new, skilled agricultural work liaison program.

Other initiatives outlined, included $1.5 million for food labelling, $3.4 million to map out the future of the forestry industry, and $1.7 million to the Australian Fisheries Management Authority to help stamp out illegal fishing.

While not mentioned over the course of the breakfast, the budget also provided a number of cost-of-living measures such as electricity bill relief, tax cuts and rent assistance as well as, infrastructure upgrades to regional airports and community wifi in regional and remote Australia.  

Seftons would like to thank CropLife and CEO Matthew Cossey once again for their generosity in hosting this important annual breakfast for Australia’s agriculture leaders.


Seftons are proud to be leaders in telling our agriculture, rural and regional stories and always representing organisation and people who shape and influence our most important assets - Australia's water, food and fibre, and the people that live and work on the land, our forests and oceans. 

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