Exploring prime ag land planning protections

Exploring prime ag land planning protections

OPINION
News
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We must stop taking our best production lands and the produce they grow for granted.

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By 2050, the global population is set to grow to 9 billion, 2 billion more than today. To feed, clothe and grow amenity for this increased population, the planet will have to produce more in the next three decades than all farmers in history have harvested over the past 8000 years. Farmers in Australia are among the world's most productive and on track to achieve this goal, growing produce for our nation and many more, feeding about 60 million people every year.

To continue to provide food and nutrient security, it is critical that we preserve and sustainably intensify production where appropriate, on the nation's limited prime agricultural land. In Queensland, we continue to see the permanent and unsustainable loss of the best farmland in the state to a variety of non-agricultural uses ranging from urban sprawl, manufacturing and industrial uses, utilities, and mining.

Concerningly, investment in Queensland exploration has increased by 22.5 per cent in the last year, with minerals (up 14.5pc) and oil and gas (up 53.1pc) compared to the previous 12 months, according to recent Australian Bureau of Statistics numbers. The figure is expected to rise when the 2021 Queensland Exploration Program is released, while the Queensland Resource Industry Development Plan is currently open for consultation and aims to promote growth, jobs and investment in the state's coal, minerals and gas industries.

The Queensland Farmers' Federation is ensuring farmers' views are heard throughout the QRIDP process and is serious about developing a state-based approach to properly address planning for mining and resources to better protect Queensland's prime agricultural land. The state government's current inconsistent approach to agricultural land classifications must be simplified and there must be a return to protection rather than simply coexistence for the best quality farmland to ensure the future of farming in the state.

With an increase in mining and gas activity in recent years, and demands on agriculture increasing, vigilance is needed to ensure agricultural land is treated as the precious and irreplaceable commodity that it is as major resources projects are explored, approved and developed. We must stop taking our best production lands and the produce they grow for granted.

Develop a Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan (QRIDP) that benefits all Queenslanders by completing the online survey or provide a formal submission.

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