9 May 2018


It was a chilly night in Canberra; and the Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) attended a Budget Function in the Great Hall for Treasurer Scott Morrison’s third budget. This was a big spending Turnbull-McCormack budget on tax cuts, infrastructure and jobs creation and the Australian red meat and livestock sector – particularly on farm – saw some small wins as well.

RMAC welcomes the Federal Government’s commitment to enhancing Australia’s biosecurity system, a spend of $121.6 million over five years to underpin market access and trade growth.

We also welcome the Federal Government’s commitment of $51.3 million over four years to support exports to key international markets. This shows a strong commitment to helping industry unlock the $3.19 billion in growth for trade and market access diversification under the Meat Industry Strategic Plan 2020.

The re-commitment and expansion of Australia’s agricultural counselor network will see six new counselors. There will now be a total of 22 agricultural diplomats posted worldwide thanks to this Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) program.

A welcome and less highlighted item in the Australian Agriculture and Export Growth Plan was an additional $6.6 million for the established pest animals and weeds pipeline. The continuation of this work will be beneficial to red meat producers.

DAWR has two key outcomes related to Australian red meat and livestock –more sustainability, productive, internationally competitive Australian agriculture and food; and to safeguard Australia’s animal health status.

These key outcomes will be achieved by a partnership approach between the Australian Government and industry to protect and grow our $18-billion-dollar true Aussie industry and our combined workforce of 405,000 jobs.

Budget by the Numbers


  • $121.6 million over five years for biosecurity.
  • $51.3 million for trade and market access growth, including DAWRs expansion of the counsellor network.
  • An extension of $3.6 million to the Indonesia-Australia Cattle and Red Meat Partnership (RMCP) to further trade relations in Indonesia out to 2021. RMAC understands this is new expenditure from the unallocated $42.47 of RMCP funds.
  • A potentially new Australian Agriculture and Export Growth Plan; whether this is part of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper remains unclear.
  • $15-million-dollar cost saving by the Department of Agriculture over 5 years.
  • A new biosecurity levy for imports on port operators generating around $360 million revenue over 5 years as part of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity Review (IGAB). 
  • $8.3 million in 2018 – 2019 for the Australian Pesticides & Veterinary Medicines Authority.

Whole of Government – Red Meat Highlights

  • Tax cuts for low to middle income earners may support food services and retail spending on delicious and nutritious true Aussie red meat over the long term… plus
  • $24.5 billion total infrastructure spend with highlights of:
    • $2.6 billion for major road upgrades in Queensland
    • $3.5 billion for freight Roads of Strategic importance, with $1.5 billion allocated to northern Australian roads and a $250 million to fund Major Case Studies
  • Revisions to tax incentives for small and large business for Research & Development (R&D) means in theory those that that spend higher amounts on genuine R&D will benefit from more generous measures
  • $40.2 million over the forward estimates on projects that support the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper including the establishments of new High Commissions
  • Extension of the provision for small businesses to instantly write off asset purchases under $20,000
  • $500 million for Great Barrier Reef restoration
  • Extension of funding to Regional Australia Institute’s (RAI) regional policy program

For further information

For further information on Budget 2018 for Australia’s 75,000 red meat businesses please see: