MEMBER for Calare John Cobb has announced $147 million in extra funding for agriculture, but will not say where the money is coming from until the end of the week.
He said the costings for the Coalition’s agriculture policy will come out with the rest of its costings in the hours before this Saturday’s election.
However, the Opposition agriculture spokesperson is proud of the already-announced commitment of $100 million in additional funding for rural research and development (R and D).
He said part of the plan was to get all agricultural scientists together to develop a 10-year plan for the region.
“I want to see profitable R and D and co-operative research,” he said.
There is also $20 million for a biosecurity emergency response team, $15 million for rebates for small exporters on registration costs, $8 million to help fast track minor-use chemical permits, $2.2 million to support respondents to native title claims and $2 million to boost agricultural education.
“We want to give back what Labor pinched from farmers in native title representation,” he said.
In the last leader’s debate, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd flagged a tightening of Labor’s approach to foreign investment and the treatment of the agriculture sector by supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths.
Mr Cobb said the Prime Minister must have liked what he read in the Coalition’s plan.
The Coalition plans to establish a registry of foreign ownership and lower the threshold for farmland purchases to be scrutinised by the Foreign Investment Review Board, from $244 million to $15 million.
“I’m glad [the Prime Minister] realises rural and regional Australia exist, he mentioned $15 million, obviously he had a look at what we plan to do,” he said.