Qld Budget: Agriculture minister hits back

Agriculture minister hits back at Budget criticism

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Agriculture Minister Mark Furner has hit back at criticism of the Budget, branding LNP comments as 'outrageous and erroneous'.

Agriculture Minister Mark Furner has hit back at criticism of the Budget, branding LNP comments as 'outrageous and erroneous'.

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Agriculture Minister Mark Furner has hit back at criticism of the Queensland Budget.

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AGRICULTURAL Industry Development and Fisheries Minister Mark Furner has hit back at criticism of the Queensland Budget, branding LNP Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington's comments as 'outrageous and erroneous'.

In a statement issued to Queensland Country Life this morning, Mr Furner says department funding of $525 million is a massive increase over the LNP's last Budget of $408m.

Ms Freckling accused the Palaszczuk government of slashing and burning the 'once great' Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, while massively fueling other sections of the public service.

Debt (sic) Frecklington and Cutter Campbell Newman slashed 26 per cent of Biosecurity staff and 28pc of Fisheries staff in the LNP Govt. - Agriculture Minister Mark Furner

Ms Frecklington said while the number of bureaucrats in Brisbane had grown more than 25,000 since 2015, the departments that supported rural and regional industries continued to miss out.

"The department will lose more than 106 full time equivalent staff including staff from Biosecurity Queensland and the Queensland Rural Industry Development Authority," Ms Frecklington said.

However, Mr Furner was having none of it.

"Debt (sic) Frecklington and Cutter Campbell Newman slashed 26 per cent of Biosecurity staff and 28pc of Fisheries staff in the LNP Govt," a statement issued by Mr Furner's office reads.

"Debt Frecklington calling the completion of temporary disaster assistance work 'job cuts' is a shameful and cynical exploitation of farmers and families who suffered devastation due to recent floods, cyclones and bushfires.

"Debt Frecklington's inclusion of QATC staff in her numbers is a blatant attempt to mislead - they are not department staff and she ignores the new jobs that will be created with new uses of QATC facilities."

Mr Furner's statement says the government had followed the recommendations of the Coaldrake report on the closures of the Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges.

"Yet the LNP has not given any indication of their policy on QATC or released their QATC report kept secret since they were in government."

Mr Furner also took a swipe at AgForce chief executive officer Michael Guerin, who challenged the Palaszczuk government to support a strategic plan currently being worked on with the Department of Agriculture.

"Completion of a comprehensive Agribusiness and Food Industry Development Strategy is fully funded under this budget, something Mr Guerin is fully aware of," the statement reads.

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