Niall Blair's main course had already been served ahead of Tuesday's budget banquet - but there were still a few fresh morsels for the farm and regional sector as the papers dropped.
Already dished up for 2018-19 was governemnt's $250m drought loan package, as well as $25m for new Doppler weather radars, $50m for DPI's ag research stations, and $71.8 over four years for the state's forstry industry.
Budget papers confirmed government's boots-on-the-ground landowner support team - Local Land Services - will see its total funding jump $32m on last year's budget allocation, now sititng at $208.3 million.
That amont is up 1.5 per cent (or $4.37m) on what was actually spent on the service over the past year as it absorbed responsibility for Private Native Forestry, Soil Conservation Services and joint management of the native vegetation regime.
Interestingly, LLS also expects to net an extra $10m in taxes, fees and fines above the $41m predicted at last year's budget.
A revised figure showed LLS raked in $45.5m from landowners in 2017-18, and it is expected to net the service $51.85m in 2018-19.
Total NSW ag output is forecast to rise from $15.4 billion to $19 billion in 2018-19.
Ag spending for the next financial year is split into two categories.
There's $381m to 'achieve safe and secure ag output', with $12m in capital expenditure.
This covers managing natural resources, and enhancing biosecurity - including $64m over ten years to expand national program to eradicate red ants.
There's also $318 for a 'productive primary industries', with $25m capital expenditure.
This promotes innovation, improve resilience, and boost productivity, including $65m over 10 years for the Grains Research and Development Corporation and $4.2m to remove stamp duty on crop and stock insurance.
Blair’s emphasis on home-grown innovation
The industry cluster headed by Minister for Primary Industries and Trade Niall Blair will see a $5b total spend and $355m capital expenditure in 2018-19.
“NSW farming businesses and regional communities will benefit from more than $1 billion in this year’s Budget to boost the sector’s productivity, while reducing the impact from devastating pests and disease,” Mr Blair said.
“This sets up our primary industries sector for the future. It encourages our farmers and fishers to harness home-grown innovation in order to continue to produce the best of the best in food and fibre.
“Over the next four years we will be investing in the development of our export industry to help garner successful results with potential overseas markets.”
$39 million will also be invested in initiatives to support exporters, grow the state’s international education sector, develop and commercialise quantum computing and raise the awareness of science and engineering capabilities and careers.
The 2018-19 NSW Budget also commits $23.2 million to deliver the state’s Water Reform Action Plan. This includes funding for new technology, which will support best-practice water management and monitoring.
Government will also invest $70m in the foresry sector, divided between new plantation investments, concessional loans for mill innovation, and training and accreditation for forestry contractors.
There's $21.8m to roll out new Crown Land reforms, and $15m for the Public Reserves Management Fund.
Other projects in the cluster include $285.2m spent over six years on 100,000 fee-free apprenticeships.
While on TAFE, its capital expenditure has soared to $180m - a 56pc boost - which includes 10 Connected Learning Centres and Mobile Traiing Units.
However, overall, TAFE gets a 1.4 per cent cut of about $26m to its budget, which now sits at $1.768b.
TAFE is operating at a $60.4m loss, though that gap was bridged by $42m over the past year.
Other regional items of note
- Office of the chief scientist and engineer geta $13.5m for Research Attraction and Acceleration Program to support high-impact research in universities.
- Destination NSW spend drops $33m - about 15 per cent - from a $205.8m revised spend, down to $172.7m, for 2018-19. Its forecast revenue also drop by a simliar amount.
- The NSW Rural Fire Service will get an extra $60m in 2018-19 - up from $385.7m allocated last year, to $444.5m.
- The State Emergency Service gets an extra $9m - up from $107m last year, to $116.1m in 2018-19.
- There's $74.4m cash available in the Biodiversity Conservation Trust in 2018-19 for landholders interacting with the native vegetation regime.
- The Environmental Protection Authority gets a boost of about 10 per cent ($17m) from $172.9m to $189.4m in 2018-19
- The Office of Environment and Heritage gets a 9.3 per cent funding boost to $1.17b