Why state workforce attraction is crucial

View From the Paddock: Why state workforce attraction is crucial

OPINION
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Nearly every company here in our region is struggling to get the right people to fill their roles so we need to work together to promote the liveability of regional Australia and the jobs here.

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Food Leaders Australia general manager Bruce McConnel.

Food Leaders Australia general manager Bruce McConnel.

Our agricultural sector is currently positioned for great prosperity.

We have international markets clambering over our food, a world protein shortage looking to take our product to premium markets, and significant investments in meat processing facilities.

The wetter than normal winter has also made a monumental difference in the amount of grain crops and fodder production this year.

Agriculture really is in a position to drive another wave of economic growth across the state to help the industry become a $100 billion sector by 2030.

The biggest issue we have in this though, is as we adopt new technologies and practices, we need the best and brightest minds in Australia here to help us capture all the opportunities available.

We want a migration of the brainiest people into agriculture, but we're having challenges doing that.

Nearly every company here in our region is struggling to get the right people to fill their roles so we need to work together to promote the liveability of regional Australia and the jobs here.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employs 85,600 people in Queensland, which represents only 3 per cent of the state's workforce.

To improve these numbers, we need collaboration between organisations like the Regional Australia Institute and state and federal governments to make people realise the benefits of the regions.

At the recent 400M Agrifood innovation conference in Toowoomba, the feedback from businesses was that the innovation is great, but we need to ensure we have the workforce to operate it.

Hearing this from other people on the ground only reiterates the fact that we need to solve this workforce attraction issue now so businesses can increase their profitability.

By connecting people to a career in animal agriculture, a protein jobs fair in the Western Downs later this year will help share the challenges across all businesses within the sector so one company isn't struggling alone.

If you're having difficulties with workforce attraction, make the time to engage with your local economic development organisation to discuss how you can work together with industry.

- Bruce McConnel, Food Leaders Australia general manager

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