Reliable access to water, more wild dog exclusion fencing and a better approach to high value agriculture development will help enhance primary producers’ profitability and drive industry growth and AgForce says these must be at the top of a political candidates to do list.
The rural representative body’s ‘Thriving Farms, Thriving Queensland’ plan outlines a series of policy priorities in the upcoming State Election and the actions required to address them, with one of the key themes ‘Growing Agriculture and Enhancing Profitability’.
AgForce General President Grant Maudsley says Queensland agriculture was a cornerstone of the state’s economy and a significant employment driver that had enormous growth potential with the right policy settings from government.
“AgForce maintains that high value agriculture and irrigated high value agriculture developments present a much needed social and economic opportunity for Queensland, and Labor’s proposed ban is both short-sighted and unnecessary.”
“We believe it is reasonable to request clear and concise processes for applicants and an appropriate right of appeal if permits are not issued. Rather than ban high value agriculture applications altogether.”
“AgForce would instead advocate a staged approach in which an applicant with pre-approval for the full project then ‘proves up’ each stage and demonstrates an effective outcome through clearing vegetation, cultivating and planting before moving on to the next stage of development.”
Mr Maudsley says exclusion fencing to protect Queensland’s sheep flock from wild dogs was helping revitalise the state’s sheep and wool industry, which in turn boosted local economies and created job opportunities.
“The roll-out to date has been fantastic but more needs to be done, and AgForce is seeking a commitment of at least $5 million a year to continue building fences in Queensland’s sheep-producing areas.”
“Labor has so far announced $5 million over two years which is a good start, and we await with interest to see whether the LNP will match or preferably better this commitment.”
Mr Maudsley says reliable access to water was a key factor limiting further agricultural development and AgForce was calling for a more transparent, science-based process to identify further water resources available for sustainable release in north Queensland.
“We are also seeking the establishment of a more predictable, effective and efficient process for the release of identified water reserves and more transparent and effective systems for water trading.”
Other priorities listed in the to ‘grow agriculture and enhance profitability’ outline includes an increased focus on ensuring agricultural research and development is adopted for on-farm use as soon as possible; and continued land tenure reform to provide greater long-term security for landholders;