Agriculture is one of the pillars of the Queensland economy, and it’s important our State Government invests in key infrastructure that helps our sector grow and prosper.
That’s why new and improved road and rail networks that reduce the cost of transporting farm produce to markets, support for water saving measures in the Great Artesian Basin and the continued roll-out of wild dog exclusion fencing top AgForce’s wish list for next week’s State Budget.
With transport making up a third or more of the cost of production for farmers, AgForce would like to see new funding for highway upgrades in regional Queensland, as well as a pool of funds set aside for local councils to work with industry to address ‘first and last mile issues’.
We’ve also urged the State Government to invest in a rail freight infrastructure project proposed by GrainCorp that could create hundreds of jobs, take 20,000 trucks off regional roads and boost Queensland’s exports earnings.
Water infrastructure investment is vital too, particularly in the Great Artesian Basin. Following AgForce’s advocacy, the Federal Government’s $8 million to continue water saving measures in the Great Artesian Basin was welcome, and we now want the Queensland Government to provide its share to keep the program going.
Queensland sheep and wool producers will be looking to the State Budget for continued government investment in wild dog exclusion fencing to help revitalise the industry and create regional jobs.
The assistance the Federal and State Governments have provided so far to help sheep producers build fences to protect their flock has made an enormous difference in getting the industry back on its feet, but the job is not yet done.
There are many other initiatives AgForce would like to see in next week’s State Budget including more funding toward fixing mobile phone black spots, a greater focus on biosecurity awareness and responses, and an extension of the intergenerational farm transfer duty exemption to include family trusts and companies.
In the context of a $50 billion State Budget, none of these requests are particularly extravagant, but all will make a significant and positive difference in the lives of rural and regional Queenslanders.