Business Council of Australia warns of agricultural hardship

By Addie Thomes

Valuable new Asian export markets are in jeopardy if the Parliament does not pass the Government’s enterprise Tax Plan in full.

This was the message from National Farmers Federation chief executive Tony Mahar and Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott.

“With business tax rates falling around the world, Australia must reduce its uncompetitive 30 percent tax rate for all companies to encourage the new investment that is desperately needed to scale-up our agribusiness sector over the coming decades.

“This is a critical time. Australian agribusiness has huge potential to supply fast growing Asian markets but fulfilling this potential will require large new investment at all stages along the supply chain, from family farms to large processors and exporters.

“The agribusiness sector will need an estimated $1 trillion of new investment by 2050, according to ANZ, yet business investment in Australia is falling at rates not seen since the 1990s recession.

“Limiting tax cuts to small business only would effectively penalise investments in processing of agricultural goods, severely limiting Australia’s potential to add value to its agricultural exports and unlock export markets for Australia’s premium agricultural goods.

“The story is the same for other sectors – small, medium and big business form integrated supply chains and putting up roadblocks at any one point has negative repercussions along the chain.

“The future prosperity of Australian farms relies on being able to partner with larger companies that can transform their raw produce into high-quality, manufactured goods that can compete with cheaper, lower quality products from elsewhere.

“There are tremendous opportunities for Australian agriculture in Asia but, if we fall asleep at the wheel, these opportunities will be snatched up by our overseas competitors,” Mr Mahar and Ms Westacott said.


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