AgForce preparing for pivotal year for regional Qld

AgForce preparing for pivotal year

Opinion
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With the Queensland elections just 10 months away, it will be an important year for agriculture and for regional Queensland.

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It used to be that nothing much happened until after Australia Day, but with the national day still over the horizon, it's been a big year already.

With the terrifying backdrop of floods, drought and bushfires, AgForce has been doing some heavy lifting on behalf of members and regional communities to keep an eye on a state government that appears to have largely forgotten about them.

So far, 2020 has seen AgForce go into bat for members needlessly charged state land tax, call out the Premier for her off-handed approach to supporting drought-affected producers and communities, and begun a consultation program to give people in western Queensland a say in proposed regulation in the Lake Eyre Basin - something the government clearly had no intention of doing.

And with D-Day - the Queensland elections - just 10 months away, AgForce is prepping for not just a busy, but a critically important year for agriculture and for regional Queensland.

Led by our Stand Up for Regional Queensland campaign, we are engaging the Queensland community - in particular urban dwellers in the south-east - in an important conversation so they know of the challenges facing rural and regional Queensland.

This is a key step in a broader plan to ensure all political parties - including the minor ones who may well hold the balance of power - commit to the right policies and programs.

To strengthen our agri-political capabilities, we have appointed experienced policy officer Cam Parker. Cam will enhance our ability to influence government policy on key issues like drought, natural disasters, financing, and taxes and charges and also assist members with climate and agribusiness issues.

This is part of AgForce's strategic investment in people to ensure that we have the resources and capability to deliver what members need this year and beyond.

We also welcome regional managers Andrew Sinnamon and Lauren Young (south-east Queensland and southern inland Queensland respectively) after a lengthy search for just the right people.

Andrew and Lauren will ensure 'on the ground' support for members, deliver tailored regional events, act as an important conduit between members and AgForce head office teams, and support our drive for new members.

Finally, the appointment of Ray Aspinall as our central west Queensland wild dog coordinator brings the Qld Wild Dog Coordinator Project back to full strength and will greatly reduce predation on livestock from feral animals, in particular wild dogs.

This investment in our capability is important to ensure members have the confidence to continue to invest in their businesses and their communities knowing they have a strong advocate and ally on their side.

Hopefully the rains that brought such welcome relief to so many - albeit only a drop in the bucket of what's needed - sets the scene for a productive and successful year.

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