FARMERS are calling on newly appointed Palaszczuk government ministers to visit farms in regional Queensland to help them get a grip on the importance of the $20 billion agriculture sector.
The call follows the appointment of 16 Brisbane-based MPs to the Palaszczuk government’s 18 cabinet positions. The only cabinet members from outside Brisbane represent urban electorates in Cairns and Townsville.
AgForce chief executive officer Michael Guerin said agriculture underpinned tens of thousands of jobs in regional Queensland, yet none of the ministers with portfolios affecting agriculture came from outside Brisbane.
Mr Guerin said it was still to be seen what clout new agriculture minister Mark Furner would have, or be allowed to have, at the cabinet table.
Among the ministers AgForce wants to see head bush are Mark Furner (Ferny Grove), natural resources minister Anthony Lynham (Stafford), environment minister Leeanne Enoch (Algester), and transport and main roads minister Mark Bailey (Miller).
Top of mind for agriculture is Labor's plan to re-introduce draconian flawed vegetation management laws rejected by the last Queensland Parliament in August 2016.
"A strong agricultural sector underpins a strong economy, and with global demand for our high-quality food and fibre on the rise, we need the right policy settings from governments to make the most of these opportunities," Mr Guerin said.
"Queensland is now Australia's most valuable agricultural state, yet the divisive vegetation management laws debate has left many Queensland primary producers feeling under attack and under-valued by their state government," he said.
"The fact that all the ministers with portfolios affecting agriculture are from Brisbane will only further fuel the perception that the Palaszczuk Government is more interested in West End than Western Queensland.
"That's why AgForce is urging all the Brisbane-based Ministers to visit farms in regional Queensland as soon as possible so they can see first-hand the environmentally sustainable practices used to produce food and fibre for our state, our country and consumers across the world.
"Agriculture is the fastest growing industry in the country and one in seven Queenslanders are either partially or entirely supported by the food sector.
"With the right policies that allow agriculture to grow and prosper, Queensland will grow and prosper."
The Palaszczuk government’s 18 cabinet ministers will be sworn in during a ceremony at Government House today.
The LNP will meet at 2pm to elect its leader. Its opposition spokespeople are expected to be named in coming days.