AgForce pushed its state election lobbying up a notch today with a call on all political parties to commit to policies that help the next generation of Queensland farmers, build drought resilience and improve safety on farms.
The organisation is urging all candidates to familiarize themselves with its ‘Thriving Farms, Thriving Queensland’ plan which AgForce General President Grant Maudsley says outlines a series of policy priorities.
He says Queensland primary producers work hard in difficult business and climatic conditions, and want to be able to hand their farm on to the next generation in a way that maximises their chance of having a safe and successful career.
“With the average Queensland farmer now 56 years of age, we need to reduce the barriers to generational change in agriculture to ensure there is a continual infusion of new people and ideas to keep industry productivity growing.”.
“That’s why AgForce is seeking an expansion of eligible activities for succession planning grants and the extension of transfer duty exemptions for passing the family farm to the next generation.”
AgForce is calling for a more permanent funding structure for the School to Industry Partnership Program, which teaches Queensland primary school students where their food comes from, and highlights agricultural career opportunities to secondary school students”
Mr Maudsley says with about two-thirds of Queensland still drought declared, importantly primary producers need continued assistance to deal with the current drought and a new approach to better manage future droughts.
“AgForce has developed an ‘Agricultural Business Cycle’ concept which aims to put producers in the driver’s seat in managing climate risks.”
“Producers would decide what phase of the climate cycle they are in and select from a range of publicly and privately funded programs that ensure the social, financial and environmental needs of their business and family are met within each phase.”
“Producers accept an obligation to plan and self-manage regularly occurring dry periods of one to two years duration, while governments take responsibility to provide a consistent policy and adequate funding to support producers in their efforts throughout all phases, so as to minimise the impact of really tough times.”
Mr Maudsley also says action is needed to address the fact that agriculture was over-represented in workplace deaths and injuries, with quad bike accidents a particular problem on farms.
“Despite significant funding being invested in government advertising campaigns on quad bike safety, there has been little resulting uptake of preventative measures and we believe a new incentives-based approach is needed.”
“With Victoria and New South Wales both introducing quad bike safety rebate programs, AgForce is calling for a similar program for Queensland farmers to assist with the purchase of helmets, the installation of operator protective devices and crush protection devices, and the purchase of side by side vehicles.”
A copy of AgForce’s ‘Thriving Farms, Thriving Queensland’ election policy platform is available at www.agforceqld.org.au