Peak Queensland agriculture and forest industry bodies have been left with more questions than answers ahead of this weekend’s state election, after political parties vying for public office have announced policies impacting the sector without providing sufficient details.
Concerned that agriculture has not featured strongly during the election campaign, the sector has been the subject of several commitments from political parties addressing high input costs such as water and new and much needed infrastructure in the last week.
Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) President Allan Dingle said while these announcements were welcome, they may be too little too late and with flaws and fragmentation, creating further uncertainty for farmers’ long-term productivity and profitability.
“Water is a key enabler for Queensland’s agriculture sector and we appreciate both major political parties recognition of the importance of affordable and reliable irrigation water for the state’s farmers continue growing world class food, fibre and foliage ahead of this weekend’s election,” Mr Dingle said.
“However, the sector’s vision for agriculture can only be achieved by addressing the challenges and taking advantage of the opportunities presented, which requires strategic policy from political parties.”
“The agriculture sector has been reaching out over the past year to engage with all sides of politics, with the industry preparing detailed election platform documents, policy position papers, scientific reports and roadmaps, but the contents of many of these documents remains unanswered.”
“Instead, agriculture is a blind spot rather than a bright spot for Queensland’s political parties, with piecemeal approaches and policy holes that could have been shored up and left watertight with greater industry consultation.”
“We need a government that will guarantee farmers fair production costs, create and foster an environment that promotes productivity and resilience, enables innovation, and ensures the building blocks and infrastructure that underpin the sector are in place.”
“Our sector is the only one that can deliver food security, environmental sustainability and economic opportunity for relatively low risk – a compelling case regardless of politics.”
“QFF Council members and Timber Queensland have echoed similar concerns regarding the need for a more comprehensive policy approach to both agriculture and forestry.”
“In the next Parliament, the government must work alongside industry to achieve our vision for agriculture, or we risk deterioration of our sector, rather than strengthening this critical economy support structure.”
With the support of:
Paul Schembri, CANEGROWERS Chairman
Michael Murray, Cotton Australia General Manager
Belinda Adams, Growcom Chair
Ian Atkinson, Nursery & Garden Industry Queensland Chief Executive Officer
Eric Danzi, Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation Executive Officer
Stephen Ryan, Australian Canefarmers General Manager
John Coward, Qld United Egg Producers CEO & Pork Qld Inc President
Hugo Struss, Turf Queensland President
Mick Stephens, Timber Queensland Chief Executive