LNP Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington has defended her limited references to agriculture in today's Budget reply speech, saying the LNP's policy for the farm sector will be released closer to the next Queensland election.
While referring specifically to the construction of new dams and reducing electricity prices throughout regional Australia, the hour long speech made only limited references to key rural issues and no reference to the drought or other natural disasters affecting farmers.
The budget reply speech was mocked by Agriculture Minister Mark Furner, who Tweeted a blank page as a summary of the LNP's promises for agriculture.
Mr Furner was yesterday subject to bruising criticism over the Palaszczuk government's offering to agriculture.
AgForce chief executive officer Michael Guerin was perhaps the most stinging, heaping scorn on the agriculture budget's showcase offering.
"When the headline program in the agriculture portfolio is a shark netting program, that tells you everything you need to know about the government's attitude towards primary production," Mr Guerin said.
"This government continues to demonstrate that it has no vision for the ongoing development and sustainability of broadacre agriculture, which contributes nearly $8 billion to the state economy every year."
CANEGROWERS also criticised the Palaszczuk Government for missing a clear opportunity to make significant structural changes to reduce electricity prices.
The Queensland Farmers Federation said agriculture had missed out on its fair share of stimulus funding, which was needed to address critical competitiveness and productivity issues and progress growth initiatives.
In response to Ms Frecklington's Budget reply speech, Mr Furner said after all the LNP's bluff and bluster, the opposition leader had promised not one red cent for agriculture.
"While the Palaszczuk government invests to create regional jobs for today and for the future, Debt Frecklington offered nothing positive at all," Mr Furner said.
"Deb Frecklington must be embarrassed that Labor's agriculture and fisheries Budget is $525m, more than 28 per cent higher than the $408m in the LNP's last Budget.
"That includes major investments in biosecurity, rural industry development, drought assistance and fisheries reforms.
"Complaining, whinging and whining will do nothing to support our farmers or grow jobs in Queensland agriculture."
Mr Furner said the Labor government has always backed farmers and always would.
"The LNP talks the talk then cuts when it gets the chance," Mr Furner said.
Railing against the Palaszczuk government's 'anti-farming agenda', Ms Frecklington said Labor has continually ignored the pleas of producers and only listened to the voices of environmental extremists.
"Labor's Brisbane-based Ministers don't care about the bush," Ms Frecklington said.
"They only care about their own backyards.
"The LNP has never turned its back on our farmers and a future LNP Government will get behind agriculture.
Ms Frecklington said an LNP government would progress both the Nullinga and the Urannah Dams, providing water for agriculture and industry in Central and North Queensland, as well as begin raising the Burdekin Falls Dam.
The LNP would also bring down the average regional electricity bill by $1200, she said.
"Cheaper power and water will give regional businesses the lift they desperately need," she said.