Biosecurity issues were front and centre at the inaugural meeting of the Agricultural Ministerial Advisory Council (AgMAC) in Brisbane on Tuesday morning.
Representatives from the Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) and AgForce Queensland Farmers Ltd were in attendance, to report back on the current state of the industry and to help set the future direction of the Council.
Agricultural minister Mark Furner said biosecurity issues like weeds, pests and in particular White Spot Disease, which was once again raised in last week’s Four Corners episode, had the potential to limit future growth in the industry.
“Foreign incursions that pass through our weak borders have the potential to impact every single farmer and primary producer in this state,” Mr Furner said.
“There can be no more delays or buck passing from the Federal Government on this issue, we need action.
“To show my support of the prawn industry in Queensland I went out and bought two kilos of the finest, freshest local prawns from a nearby seafood market to serve at the AgMAC.
“To see farmers and representatives from a broad range of industries all tucking into some local seafood was wonderful and a great indicator for the future collaboration of the AgMAC.”
Mr Furner acknowledged all the industry representatives for taking the time to join him for the first ever AgMAC meeting and for their persistent advocacy in getting this Council off the ground.
“The AgMAC will enhance our government and industry relationships to ensure a bright future for the industry in Queensland,” he said.
“It will be an important forum to address critical competitiveness and productivity issues, as well as identifying growth opportunities within the agriculture and food sectors.
“This is also an opportunity to establish industry and Government priorities for agricultural industry development, which will allow Queensland to capitalise on the opportunities and challenges of the future.”
Mr Furner said the agriculture industry is in a unique position and will be influenced by a variety of global trends over the next decade.
“Queensland in particular will face unprecedented opportunities and challenges in response to increasing demand for our premium products.”
Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) President Stuart Armitage said QFF and industry members were looking forward to working with government through AgMAC to progress agricultural issues and build a strategic agricultural plan for the future.
“AgMAC provides a forum to address cross-portfolio challenges and achieve a more synergistic government policy on agriculture,” Mr Armitage said.
“AgMAC will help drive the sector forward to capitalise on the opportunities that exist and provide the best outcomes for agriculture going forward to benefit all Queenslanders.”
AgForce Queensland Farmers Ltd President Mr Grant Maudsley said AgMAC was an opportunity for industry to engage with the Queensland Government and highlight key priorities.
“Demand for high quality food and fibre is on the rise, and we hope AgMAC will lead to the development of a strong vision for Queensland agriculture supported by policies and solutions that take our industry forward” he said.