As a foundation of the Queensland economy and a significant employment driver, Queensland agriculture is looking to build further on our achievement of being the most valuable in the country.
We want to look at further growth opportunities to sustainably use our abundant land and water resources and benefit our rural communities.
A key theme of AgForce’s State Election policy platform is focussed on growing agriculture and enhancing primary producers’ profitability.
AgForce maintains that Labor’s proposed ban on high value agriculture and irrigated high value agriculture developments is both short-sighted and unnecessary.
We believe it is reasonable to request clear and concise processes for applicants and an appropriate right of appeal if permits are not issued.
Rather than ban high value agriculture applications altogether, AgForce would instead advocate a staged approach in which an applicant with full pre-approval for a project ‘proves up’ each stage and demonstrates an effective outcome before moving on to the next stage of development.
We have also highlighted the importance of exclusion fencing to protect Queensland’s sheep flock from wild dogs.
The roll-out to date has been fantastic but more needs to be done, and AgForce is seeking a commitment of at least $5 million a year to continue building fences in Queensland’s sheep-producing areas.
At the time of writing this column, Labor had announced $5 million over two years and we were waiting to see whether the LNP would match or preferably better this commitment.
Reliable access to water is another factor limiting further agricultural development and AgForce is calling for a more transparent, science-based process to identify further water resources available for sustainable release in north Queensland.
We are also seeking the establishment of a more predictable, effective and efficient process for the release of identified water reserves and more transparent and effective systems for water trading
Other priorities to ‘grow agriculture and enhance profitability’ include:
- An increased focus on ensuring agricultural research and development is adopted for on-farm use as soon as possible; and
- Continued land tenure reform to provide greater long-term security for landholders.
A copy of AgForce’s ‘Thriving Farms, Thriving Queensland’ election policy platform is available at www.agforceqld.org.au – Grant Maudsley, AgForce General President