With just five days left until the State election major parties and minor candidates are going into overdrive to push policies this week.
And it seems the LNP’s won favour with AgForce which has welcomed the release of the party’s agriculture policy.
AgForce General President Grant Maudsley describing it as a broad platform that addresses many of the concerns of broadacre primary producers and seeks to make the most of opportunities to take the industry forward.
“Queensland was now the most valuable agricultural state in the country and there was enormous potential for the industry to create and support more jobs with the right policy settings from governments.”
“Overall the LNP’s agriculture policy addresses several, but not all, of AgForce’s key priorities and we would be looking to work with them to tackle our other policy priorities to ensure Queensland agriculture can achieve its full potential and create more job opportunities throughout the state.”
“AgForce outlined a comprehensive State Election policy platform to drive growth in agriculture, create more jobs and boost our regional communities, so we are pleased the LNP has picked up on a number of the initiatives we championed on behalf of farmers.”
The LNP agriculture policy includes commitments to improve pest and weed management, boost biosecurity, maintain fair vegetation management laws and enhance farm safety.
Mr Maudsley says it’s also good to see AgForce’s call for improved whole-of-government industry engagement being heeded, as many of the issues affecting agriculture cover a range of portfolios including natural resources, environment, transport and trade.
But, he says AgForce would be keen for more detail on the funding break down of the $25 million pledged over four years for improved weed and pest management.
“Pests and weeds have a massive impact on farm productivity and increased investment is always welcome, but we believe $5 million a year is needed just in the one area of wild dog exclusion fencing,”
“This fencing is helping to revitalise Queensland’s sheep and wool industry, which in turn boosts local economies, and it’s important that whoever forms the next State Government invests enough in this program to cater for the huge demand and get the job done once and for all.”
Mr Maudsley says a report released just this week had highlighted yet again the dangers of quad bikes on farms, so the pledge of up to $2 million over four years for safety rebates was timely.
“This investment would help Queensland farmers to more safely operate up to 4000 vehicles, and the fact the rebate would be available for both new and existing vehicles is important.”
The additional funding pledge for biosecurity, new vets and a ‘Farmers for the Future’ program were also positives according to AgForce..
“With the average Queensland farmer now 56 years of age, there is certainly a need to engage the next generation of farmers and we’d be keen to learn how much funding and resources would go into this initiative, including for urban school engagement.”
Mr Maudsley said Queensland agriculture was affected by over 75 Acts and regulations covering over 17,500 pages, so farmers would welcome a 20 per cent reduction in red tape if it was achieved.