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Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association

2020 Federal Budget: What it means for producers in the NT

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The Federal Budget was targeted at impacting on the post-Covid unemployment legacy.
Nationally it probably represents a good outcome however for the Territory  an opportunity to kickstart with infrastructure may have been missed.
As best we can find only the Carpentaria Highway has been funded to the tune of $120m. The other benefits may come through administrative efficiencies.
On the positive side the government has indicated it will fund the class action compensation coming from the live export ban in 2011. No value is set aside for it because they will not know until all claims are finalised and commercial in confidence reasons.
The NT budget will be handed down in November so we will see what transpires from that although we note there is a drop in GST revenue.

Ashley Manicaros
Chief Executive Officer
Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association

The NT's share of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will reduce to $2.69 billion this financial year. Approximately $360 million less this financial year than the $3 billion figure recommended by the Commonwealth Grants Commission before the pandemic.

Customers and the Value Chain

Trade & Market Access

Trade & Market Access

$328.4 million over 4 years - Busting Congestion for Agricultural Exporters Package, aims to modernise and digitise Australia’s export certification system

  • $222.2 million over 4 years for digitisation of export certification;
  • $14.3 million over 3 years to streamlining trade regulations in a post COVID-19 environment;
  • $10.9 million over 3 years to build a more competitive export meat industry;
  • $10 million over 4 years to streamline clearances for plant exports;
  • $71.1 million towards the cost recovery of export certification to reduce the financial impost on industry.

The package will deliver up to $1.2 billion in financial benefits over the decade to 2030. New agile export systems will make Australian firms more competitive in the world’s export markets.


$28.6 million over 4 years to streamline border services, reducing administrative complexity and strength biosecurity controls including investment in automated technologies to scan imports.

Ag-vet Chemicals

$29.1 million over six years has been allocated for the environmental management of chemicals to improve the control of the introduction of chemicals of high concerns and align the Australian regime with that of key trading partners.

$2.4 million has been provided to extend the Improved Access to Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals program to help farmers gain improved access to safe and effective agvet chemicals.

Transport infrastructure The Budget details a significant number of road upgrades including $7.5 billion of new road funding, and additional expedited funding for Inland Rail, including complementary local infrastructure.

Highway upgrades are a focus of the budget with $120 million for the NT's Carpentaria Highway, $23 million for the Stuart Highway near Coolalinga, and $46.6 million for national network roads. 

Building Regional Resilience

Staying Connected $30.3 million additional funding will be provided to improve mobile and broadband services in regional areas, through extension of the Regional Connectivity Program, designed to complement the further rollouts of the NBN. 
Regional Economic Development

$100 million over 2 years towards the Regional Recovery Partnerships Program, with a focus on 10 priority investment regions to assist with economic recovery and diversification of regional communities impacted by COVID -19

$41 million for the Research and Development Program to shape the Government's regionalisation and decentralisation agenda through establishment of the Securing Raw Materials Program and Regional Cooperative Research Centre Projects

$5.7 million for the Resilient Regional Leaders Program to develop leaders in our regional communities.

An additional $200 million will be injected over 4 years into the Building Better Regions Fund – to enable a further round of community infrastructure and capacity building projects ($100 million) and develop dedicated tourism related infrastructure.

Investing in Long-Term Resilience

Increased commitment to building water infrastructure across Australia with an additional investment of $2 billion in the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund, more than doubling the fund to a total of $3.5 billion.

The Fund will provide $1.5 billion over a 10-year rolling program for water infrastructure with a long-term focus on building dams, weirs and pipelines across the National Water Grid.

$50 million with be provided to support farmers to help upgrade their on-farm water infrastructure to prepare for, and recover from, drought and floods.

The Government will also extend farmers’ access to flood recovery grants that fund restocking, replanting and replacement of damaged on-farm infrastructure, this is in addition to the Government’s $5 billion Future Drought Fund.

Extending the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility NAIF will be extended for a further 5 years and lending criteria expanded to support Northern Australia’s economic recovery by supporting job creation and economic development. 
Investment in Soil Carbon Methodology The King review Technology Co-Investment Fund will contribute $95.4 million over six years to incentivise farmers to adopt technologies to reduce emission, including abatement technologies and data collection that increase soil carbon and carbon storage in vegetation. 
Future Drought Fund

Future Drought Fund

Continued funding for the Future Drought Fund, the Budget provides ongoing funding of $100 million per annum over the forward estimates for the Future Drought Fund.

  • $155.6 million towards drought response, resilience and preparedness
  • $155.6 million over four years has been allocated to a package of measures to ensure farming resilience and preparedness including:
  • $19.6 million in additional funding in 2021-22 to the National Drought and North Queensland Flood Response and Recovery Agency to coordinate the Government response to community and industry engagement on the recovery response; and
  • Instant asset write-off increased and expanded, the asset write-off measure will provide all businesses instant asset write offs for two years (starting 6 October 2020), and does not have the cap of $150,000 like the Instant Asset Write Off Scheme.

Opportunities for Australian Industries

Fuel Security $250.7 million fuel security plan will increase the resilience of the Australian economy to international fuel shocks and help secure jobs in fuel-centric industries.

Onshore diesel storage for critical services will be increased by 40 per cent. $203.7 million will be provided to support construction on new diesel fuel storage. Onshore refineries will receive a production payment recognising the fuel security benefits these facilities provide. 

Gas-fired Recovery $52.9 million will be provided to support a gas-fired recovery. $28.3 million will be invested to unlock Australia’s vast gas reserves and to help manufacturing sector access affordable reliable gas. 
Investing in Lower-Emissions Technology $1.9 billion over twelve years on new energy investments, including $1.62 billion over ten years to the Australian Renewables Energy Agency for the emission reduction Technology Investment Roadmap (facilitate investment in energy efficiency, hydrogen, energy storage and other enabling technologies).

Energy storage, including hydrogen, will be key to the sustainability and affordability of regional electricity and provides a viable pathway to reduce the agricultural sector’s reliance on liquid fuels. 

Supporting Australians Back into Jobs

Research and Development Tax Incentive Rolling back cuts to R&D Tax Incentive program ($980 million over four years).

For companies with an annual turnover below $20 million the refundable R&D tax offset is being set at 18.5 percentage points above the claimants' company tax rate and the $4 million cap on annual cash refunds will not proceed;

For companies above $20 million annual turnover, the Government will reduce the number of intensity tiers from three to two. 

People & Communities Workforce related announcements include:

$17.4 million for $6000 grants for relocation cost of workers to the bush.

Temporary changes to Youth Allowance and ABSTUDY to allow young people who earn $15,000 in seasonal agricultural work to qualify as "independent" for Youth Allowance and ABSTUDY.

$251.8 million over 2 years to support the delivery of 50,000 higher education short courses (VET) including agricultural courses.

JobMaker Hiring Credit – provide up to $200 a week (depending on eligibility) for employers who hire workers aged 16 to 35, helping young people access job opportunities and rebuild connections to labour force. The scheme will commence 7 October 2020. 

BUDGET 2020: Laying the Foundations for AG2030

The Liberal and Nationals Government have a plan to support industry’s target of $100 billion in farmgate value by 2030.

The AG2030 plan, outlined in the Budget, underpins our focus on ensuring that farmers thrive, prosper and create jobs in a post pandemic world, and lays the foundations for industry to reach its 2030 goal.
It’s a game changer for regional communities.  A boom in agriculture means more jobs in local communities, and more jobs means more opportunity.
By focussing our efforts on these priority areas, we can create the environment needed for industry to reach this ambitious industry objective.

David Littleproud MP
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management
Deputy Leader of the National Party

Find out more here.


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