The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) and its members have welcomed the Queensland Government’s ongoing commitment to prioritising water security for the state, with $510 million announced for water infrastructure and planning, which will allow growth and jobs in regional communities.
Of the $510 million, $447 million will be set aside for water security projects ranging from the Toowoomba to Warwick Pipeline project, the Cairns Water Security program, the rebuilding of Paradise Dam; and the Flinders Shire Council’s Hughenden Water Bank project (a 7000 megalitre, off-stream water storage and distribution system), to support the future sustainability of irrigated agriculture, regional economies, and communities.
QFF also welcomes funding for further work to be undertaken in the Rural Water Futures program, which has allowed irrigators to provide valuable input into the sustainable management of water through innovative technological applications.
Prioritising water security sets a strong message to the agricultural sector, that the state government is ready to get serious on climate change and assess what these changes will mean for the future of our farmers. Water and food security need to be front and centre of any decisions going forward in Queensland.
QFF CEO Jo Sheppard said, “water security is an essential factor for Queensland’s agriculture sector to continue growing world-class food, fibre and foliage and unlocking new opportunities into the future.”
“We have farmers producing world-class food who have endured intense drought and flood events over the past ten years, and we need to focus on prioritising future water security to underpin the future of farming across the state.”
“Water is our most precious commodity, and continual investment in water efficiency programs, innovative farm technologies, critical infrastructure, and prioritising water security in regional Queensland is required to enable our agricultural sector to continue to supply our local and export markets and drive economic growth in Queensland. “
“The Budget announcements have also included an additional $10 million to be invested over two years as part of the Queensland Microgrid Pilot Fund with a view to enabling energy independence and building capacity in regional and remote communities. QFF supports initiatives that work closely with industry and community to develop energy security, affordability and a continued focus on driving on farm energy efficiency.”
QFF also acknowledges budget announcements referencing investments in natural disaster preparedness, biosecurity capability, pest management and support for the implementation of the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme to help address current workforce shortages across the agricultural sector.
QFF will continue to unpack the details of areas of the budget relevant to Queensland agriculture over the coming weeks and work closely with our members, industry, regional communities and government to ensure a sustainable future for farming in this state.