Last week’s budget saw the Turnbull-Joyce Government continue to cut funding for agricultural research and development.
On 5 July 2015 Barnaby Joyce stated that:
An additional $100 million will be invested in rural Research and Development (R&D) as a result of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper decision to extend the Rural R&D for Profit program until 2021-22.
Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said investment in R&D was essential in the continued drive to improve farmgate returns to help attract the next generation of farmers.
"Australian farmers are some of the most productive, resilient and sustainable producers of food and fibre on the planet, and investment in R&D is one of the ways governments can help them keep this deserved reputation," Minister Joyce said.
"This program was an election commitment of my predecessor, John Cobb, and this program has been so well received we have extended it through to 2021–22.
The extra $100 million until 2021-22 was in additional to the initial $100 million announced in the failed agricultural competitive white paper.
The Rural R&D For Profit Programme was meant to deliver $200 million over eight years from 2014 to 2022.
Now the Department of Agriculture’s website states that the total funding available for the program is $180.5 million over eight years, ending on 30 June 2022.
That’s a cut of $19.5 million for agricultural research and development and an average cut of $6.5 million per year. If this trend continues, then over eight years $52 million will be cut from the Rural R&D For Profit Program.
Barnaby Joyce was happy to announce $200 million for the program back in 2015 but refuses to provide reasons as to why the R&D funding has been cut.
One possibility is that the funds will be used to prop up his Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) relocation pork barrel.
If that’s the case, then sadly farmers can expect more cuts over the coming years and to pay dearly for Barnaby Joyce’s failed pork barrel.