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TAS Country : February 24th 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011 Tasmanian Country 11 TFGA The farmer gets Tassie out of rough TFGA matters with Jan Davis It is clear that Tasmania's economic well-being very much vests in a faithful and often-ignored old friend, the farmer.' THE Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association shares the State Government's concerns over Tasmania's finances as Premier and Treasurer Lara Giddings revealed in her mid-year financial report. We are now seeing the first serious effects of the global financial crisis (GFC) in terms of our receipts from the Commonwealth via GST revenue. We are down $200 million this year and $800 million in relative terms if we look at the pre-GFC days. Premier Giddings now must rein in expenditure to avoid a situation where the state slides into increasing debt. The early signs are that agriculture will be largely quarantined from the proposed public-service cuts necessitated by restraint. That is how it must be. A government's first priority has to be the health and the welfare of the people. That translates to ensuring that we have efficient and at least adequate health, education, police resources -- and food. We also have to have an eye on the drivers of this economy. It is clear that Tasmania's economic well- being very much vests in a faithful and often-ignored old friend, the farmer. In 2008-09, the farm gate value of agriculture and fishing was $1.68 billion, representing 6 per cent of the gross state product. More than 17,000 people were directly employed in farm-related activities. Taking into account basic multiplier factors, this meant the farm-dependent economy contributed about $5.4 billion (18 per cent) to gross state product and one in six jobs. Not only that, the sector is one of very few in the state that has continued to deliver improved performance in the long term. Over the past 25 years, the average annual rate of increase in the gross value of production at the farm gate has been 4 per cent. Over the five-year period from 2003-04 to 2008-09, the actual increase was a massive 42 per cent, from $1.35 billion to $1.68 billion. These figures clearly demonstrate the importance of the sector as an economic driver for Tasmania's economy and also demonstrate that agriculture is a more significant contributor to the economy in this state than it is in any other. With this in mind, it is clear that Tasmania needs to ensure that the agricultural base of the state remains competitive and profitable The future of modern Tasmanian farmers is tied to the supportive infrastructure of projects such as the new irrigation schemes, in which they themselves are active financial partners. It is essential in this era of belt-tightening that the Government and MPs as a whole continue to support primary industry; that the public sector support for agriculture is in fact not pared back, but actually increased. At the end of the day, it will be the Tasmanian farmer who sees us through this rough patch. Insure your farm and you could win 1of4$500Visa gift cards.* gift OFFER ENDS 31/03/2011 *Visit www.wfi.com.au for full terms and conditions. WFI is a trading name of Wesfarmers General Insurance Limited ABN 24 000 036 279 AFSL 241461, the issuer of our policies. Contact WFI for a PDS to help decide if our policies are right for you. On the land, it's not just what you know. GC_WFI804 At WFI, we believe the best way to work with our clients is face to face. That's why we have a network of over 150 experienced Area Managers across the country. Find out why WFI is one of Australia's leading rural insurance companies by contacting your local WFI Area Manager. Call 1300 934 934 or visit www.wfi.com.au
February 17th 2011
March 3rd 2011