The Queensland Farmers Federation welcomes the Federal Treasurer’s acknowledgment of the significant contribution agriculture and the regions make to our national economy in his commentary during the budget announcements.
This acknowledgement has been supported by a number of targeted budget considerations for regional Australia including a modern manufacturing and expanded export capacity initiative as well as an aptly named Regional Accelerator Program aimed at building supply chain resilience.
“The increased infrastructure spend in regions along with the $1.3 Billion allocation for improving regional communications and changes to the tax treatment of ACCU’s and the federal biodiversity stewardship program are good news for agriculture.” said Jo Sheppard, CEO of Queensland Farmers’ Federation.
As is the additional investment in activities to improve the drought readiness and resilience of farmers and communities.
It is, however, disappointing to see the Federal Budget leaving agriculture out to dry by not addressing the real issues with water security and the impacts of climate change. Water is a critical input for the agricultural sector, and essential for the future growth of agriculture across Queensland.
Whilst it was good to see the $80 million being put towards the Bowen Pipeline, a vital part of infrastructure that will drive growth for the state and build resilience for farmers, this budget falls short on seeing the long-term vision and viability of our sector through the lack of commitment to address the water, energy, productivity nexus.
Workforce attraction and retention continues to be a challenge for agriculture and Ms Sheppard echoes the sentiment of member organisation Growcom, who have expressed their disappointment at the lack of funding to address the regional and rural housing crisis in Queensland.
“The housing shortage has exacerbated workforce pressures for Agriculture. This issue appears to have been overlooked in the budget which is disappointing.”
“With these significant regional infrastructure announcements in the budget even further pressure will be put on housing availability in North and Central Queensland. It needs to be addressed, we cannot continue to put our head in the sand in relation to the housing crisis.” said Ms Sheppard.
“Maintaining strong biosecurity measures is critical for the future of Queensland farming. The investment into protecting the northern biosecurity frontline is important but given that outbreaks in the last few decades have not come from breaches across the northern frontier, further investment must be considered in other priority areas.”
Queensland Farmers Federation looks forward to further details relating to the budget announcements being made available over the coming weeks.
MEDIA CONTACT: Laura Bos, Communications and Media Manager, QFF. M: 0417 615 463