Following the resignation of the Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne due to a serious medical condition, agriculture in this state once again finds itself without dedicated government leadership. We wish Bill well for his recovery and life after politics.
This unavoidable turn of events has happened at a critical time in the electoral cycle when a strong voice within government that can articulate and weave the importance of our sector into the upcoming election narratives and commitments is needed.
Acting Agriculture Minister Anthony Lynham is more than capable of doing this, but it would be fair to say that he already has a fair bit on his plate.
With an election looming, all sides of politics must understand how critical agriculture is to the success of the Queensland economy and demonstrate this through the election commitments they make and the priority and standing the agriculture portfolio has in cabinet. A thriving and vibrant agriculture sector is not just good for farmers; it is good for everyone.
There is no doubt that there are exciting and prosperous times ahead for agriculture. However, they will only be achieved by capitalising on the opportunities in front of us and will not happen by accident – it will require deliberate and strategic action.
In the 56th Parliament, we need a government that will guarantee farmers fair production costs, create and foster an environment that promotes productivity and resilience, and ensure the building blocks and infrastructure that underpin the sector are in place.
In a tight fiscal environment the competition for government investment is fierce. Our sector has the unique ability to deliver food security, environmental sustainability and economic opportunity for relatively low risk – a compelling case regardless of your political persuasion.
QFF thanks Bill Byrne for his passionate advocacy for regional and rural Queensland throughout his parliamentary career and the difference his efforts have made for country people in this state.