Tas budget offers $100 million to farmers

Liberal Premier Will Hodgman's Tasmanian budget will commit $100m for farmers and rural communities.
Liberal Premier Will Hodgman's Tasmanian budget will commit $100m for farmers and rural communities.

The Tasmanian government will take on one of the biggest killers on the state's farms in a high-spending budget which it says will deliver stronger rural economies.

Liberal Premier Will Hodgman's 2019/20 budget commits $100 million towards farmers and rural communities, including $70 million for new irrigation schemes, $16 million for agricultural industry development projects, a $3 million injection for Landcare and $4.8 million for the Weeds Action Fund.

The budget also includes a $700,000 package to improve quad bike safety - this in response to the 11 quad bike-related deaths in the state since 2011.

The package includes a public safety campaign and a 12-month, $500,000 rebate scheme for rollover or crush protection devices to quad bikes, which will give farmers' a rebate of 50 per cent of the purchase price.

The Hodgman government said it aimed to grow farm gate value of the state's agricultural sector to $10 billion per annum by 2050.

But its budget, released on Thursday, will push the state into net debt for the first time in 15 years to fund a record $3.6 billion infrastructure spend.

The budget will maintain a slim surplus of $57.4 million this coming financial year but plunge the state into a net debt of $284 million at the same time.

That debt is forecast to balloon to $1.1 billion in 2022/23, about a sixth of the state's overall yearly expenditure.

Australian Associated Press