CAMPBELL Newman might have caught many Queenslanders off guard with his call to the polls on Tuesday, but AgForce general president Grant Maudsley was ready with his election wishlist.
"We've been working on these issues for many months now and will be hammering home some important messages for our state politicians on a range of issues over the next few weeks," Mr Maudsley said.
- Boosted weather forecasting capabilities: Top of the list is a boost in R&D to improve weather forecasting to enable landholders to better manage climate variability.
"When you look at the rainfall figures for our farm for 2014 it looks like an average year but there was nothing average about my production this year," said Mr Maudsley, a grazier from Mitchell.
"We had the same amount of rain for December that we had for-the rest of the year. A lot of the forecasts are wide of the mark and I think we need to see a CRC-type investment to ensure better climate science is available. We need to help producers navigate their way through the ups and downs a little better."
Mr Maudsley said workshops that aimed to educate landholders about climate and weather patterns and predictions would also be beneficial.
- Expanded leasehold land reforms: Despite warmly welcoming the 2014 leasehold land reforms, AgForce now says the state government needs to go further.
Mr Maudsley said very few producers had been able to convert their leasehold land to freehold as allowed under the reforms, largely because they simply lacked the capital. He's calling on the state government to allow primary producers to access low-interest loans through QRAA to facilitate more conversions to freehold.
- Vegetation management: On vegetation management, Mr Maudsley has a few clear requests.
"We need a reduction in the high application fees and the red tape that goes with those applications," he said.
"We need an independent review with the aim of more reforms under the Vegetation Management Act, particularly in relation to thinning densities. We need longer time frames for developments and we need to make sure that if there are changes to the maps that landholders are clearly notified so that non-compliance doesn't become an issue".
- Boosting viability: On improving the viability of agricultural enterprises across the board, Mr Maudsley knows he doesn't have all the answers. But he does have policy suggestions he'd like to see the next state government take up.
Chiefly among them is the abolition of stamp duty on intergenerational property transfers. He said Queensland was the only state to charge primary producers stamp duty when they passed on land that carried debt.
"We have heard of cases where people have had to borrow money to pay that stamp duty when they have simply been trying to pass land on to the next generation," he said.
"It's a poor piece of policy and penny pinching at best."
Mr Maudsley also wants funding for the Rural Financial Counselling Service maintained or extended.
"I'd also like to see some sort of partnership between government and financial service providers to provide better or subsided access for landholders to education courses that would improve their financial literacy," he said.
- Land use: Mr Maudsley said there were myriad issues to address when it came to property rights and land uses in Queensland.
He said the Regional Planning Interests Act should include prime grazing land as well as strategic cropping land.
Mr Maudsley would also like to see better pre-development baseline data and more robust monitoring when it came to large-scale mining developments.
"We also need acceptable make good agreements when it comes to water security. At the moment the onus of proof is on the landholder so there is a negative impact there."