Expand your business vision
It was great to attend the ‘Expand Your Vision’ masterclass last week, coordinated by Namoi Unlimited and its partners for business owners and entrepreneurs looking to scale internationally. This workshop stretched participants’ thinking around what their company can achieve. With my Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment hat on, I’m pleased that we are challenging the boundaries of the way we do business and exploring overseas opportunities. Aided by Government incentives and grant schemes, and supported by important forums such as the Namoi Unlimited masterclass, there is exciting potential for businesses in the Parkes electorate to continue to grow.
It has been rewarding to see community projects funded under the Drought Communities Programme (DCP) lifting community morale and providing a boost to the local economy – there’s evidence of this right around the electorate. Last week I visited Gunnedah Racecourse which has a new automated sprinkler system now in place thanks to funding under the Coalition Government’s DCP, which provides up to $1 million in funding for all 18 councils in the Parkes electorate, as well as the Unincorporated Area.
I was delighted to be joined for afternoon tea last week by Meals on Wheels Dubbo board members and volunteers. Groups such as Meals on Wheels make an enormous contribution to communities right across my electorate, and I took this opportunity to thank Meals on Wheels Dubbo for the excellent work they do.
AgriStarter loans for new farmers
Last week the Coalition Government announced a new multi-million dollar plan to create jobs and back our farmers.
We have a plan to continue growing agriculture, fisheries and forestry that will help the sector hit $100 billion farm gate output by 2030. Key announcements that I have welcomed include $2 million concessional AgriStarter Loans for new farmers to help them purchase a majority share or total share of a farm; and an additional $10 million to tackle pests and weeds in drought-affected communities.
Also announced was $1.9 million for a new National Agricultural Workforce Strategy, supported by an Agricultural Labour Advisory Committee; a $3.5 million Farm Safety Education Fund to support activities that address on-farm safety issues; and a new 2030 Protected Horticulture Strategy to build more support for export industries.
On my travels throughout the electorate it is clear to see that young people often don’t have the capital or equity to buy a farm. The Rural Investment Corporation (RIC) has now been given the green light to create a loan product specifically to help young farmers enter the industry. We need to give young farmers a reason to stay or come home, and this will help incentivise a career in farming.