Agriculture is a major employer and the cornerstone industry for rural and regional communities throughout Queensland. The state’s 26,000 farm businesses directly employ 60,608 Queenslanders and provide over 315,000 jobs throughout the food supply chain.
The ability for agriculture to continue its role as a major employer and contributor to rural and regional communities and the state is directly tied to the sector having access to the right skills and knowledge.
Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) President Stuart Armitage called on all political parties and candidates that were serious about the future prosperity of our state to get serious about investing in and supporting jobs and skills within the agricultural sector.
“Agriculture is an important contributor to the economy and often the driver of much needed growth in regional areas. Government needs to better recognise this and commit to long term investment in industry workforce planning capacity.” said Mr. Armitage.
“Agriculture remains one of the most diverse job markets of any sector in the economy, but when it comes to workforce planning issues, the resources and the structure are not in place.
“Unless we address these fundamental issues, it will be hard for the sector to develop the ‘workforce for tomorrow’ that will be needed to ensure it can deal with the challenges and capitalise on the opportunities ahead.
“QFF has played a major role over the past 3 years in facilitating the government funded Rural Jobs and Skills Alliance. The Alliance and its associated programs have given industry a structured approach for advising government and rural training providers on the current and future skills and workforce needs.
“If we do not build on this progress we will not meaningfully address the long standing labour issues in our sector. Labor has committed to continuing this underpinning area of work and QFF commends it for that.”
This election, QFF is advocating for the following sensible and practical actions to realise our vision for a vibrant and thriving agricultural sector providing food, fibre and amenity to all Queenslanders:
- Commit $2 million over 3 years to establish a Workforce Planning Team in QFF to ensure the sector can meet the workforce challenges ahead and continue to coordinate and deliver important projects that are benefitting the whole sector.
- Maintain funding for existing workforce programs.
- Fund skill sets relevant to industry requirements.
- Increase RD&E investment to realise productivity gains, ($1 of R&D investment provides $10.15 economic return) and build knowledge across sector to enable further innovation.
The full QFF Policy Platform and its Summary are available online: https://www.qff.org.au/queensland-election/.