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Labor kicks programs to the dirt on World Soil Day

Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said Labor had cut funding to crucial soil programs in the lead up to World Soil Day. He said World Soil Day was a chance to reflect on the importance of soils and agriculture providing fresh food and fibre, but Labor continued to ignore the industry.

“The former Coalition Government set up the National Soil Strategy in 2021 and committed $196.9 million,” Mr Littleproud said. “Labor redirected $11.7 million from the National Soils Strategy to ‘other priorities’. They continue to make cuts instead of investing in soils. In fact, Labor’s National Soil Action Plan includes $36 million from the Natural Heritage Trust, which already focuses on soils.

“Labor also cut the innovative $54 million Soil Monitoring Incentives Program (SMIP).” The SMIP provided landholders with up to $275 per soil sampling site – capped at $10,000 per business – in exchange for sharing the information with a national soil database, to help the development of future policy.

“The Soil Monitoring Incentives Program was designed to boost the productivity and profitability of Australian agriculture. Crucially this program also allowed farmers to benchmark the carbon or organic matter of their farm soil, to help them gather data required for Emissions Reduction Fund projects.

“Labor’s decision to end the SMIP is disgraceful and it reflects their contempt for our farmers and the $80 billion agriculture industry.”

Labor also scrapped the National Soils Advocate just months ago. “Labor is cutting corners and costs when it comes to soils.

“There is no detail on who or what will replace the National Soils Advocate, even though the Government has had nearly 18 months to plan for this crucial position.”

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