Reducing regulatory burden, securing a long-term future for agriculture and investing in the industry is what Agforce hopes those that are vying for a seat in the upcoming election are taking seriously.
Agforce has this week released its State Election 2015 priorities detailing key policies to be implemented by an incoming government to best promote prosperity across the agriculture sector.
Five key themes are consistent across each of the policy areas identified by the advocacy group based on ongoing discussions by AgForce with grass roots primary producers and agribusinesses throughout Queensland.
These themes include:
– Dealing with ‘short term’ challenges, for example ongoing drought and reduction of red tape and regulatory burden;
– Securing the long-term future of agriculture, for example protection of prime farming and grazing land;
– Dealing with climate variability, for example cost-of-production insurance schemes to manage climate risk and continued funding of climatic and season forecasting research;
– Maintaining Queensland’s clean, green credentials, for example disease preparedness and the retention of biosecurity staff so as to ensure product integrity and reputation in key markets;
– Investing in our industry, for example the introduction of a biofuels mandate (a policy of the AgForce Grains Board) and critical investment in transport infrastructure.
AgForce General President, Grant Maudsley, said key issues within each of these policy areas would be focused upon over the next two-and-a-half weeks as Queenslanders from both rural and metropolitan areas prepared to cast their vote.
However, the creation of a business and environmental framework conducive to rural prosperity underpinned the AgForce position.
“Until the end of the month we will be highlighting specific policy changes we believe must be made for the operating environment in Queensland to be one which allows our primary producers to get on with the job of producing the best food and fibre in the world in a profitable and responsible manner,” Mr Maudsley said.
“Our industry is facing a range of short-term challenges including drought and the weight of unnecessary red tape which need to be addressed.
“However, we also require recognition of the growing role agriculture will play in the Queensland economy and the enormous opportunity that lies before the sector as demand for our premium quality product grows across international markets.
“This demands a long-term commitment to investing in services and infrastructure that support the sector, including the retention of a dedicated and well-resourced Department of Agriculture that has capacity to deliver real outcomes for industry.
“Also critical to the long-term viability of agriculture is protecting our product integrity and ensuring the rights of our farmers in protection of their land.
“I look forward to speaking with candidates throughout the state in the lead up to 31 January and further impress upon them the importance of getting this policy framework right, not just for the benefit of farmers but for the prosperity of all of Queensland.”