An investment in road and rail infrastructure to help reduce the cost of transporting farm produce from paddock to plate, support for water saving measures in the Great Artesian Basin and the continued roll-out of wild dog exclusion fencing top AgForce’s wish list for next week’s State Budget.
AgForce General President Grant Maudsley says agriculture was one of the pillars of the state’s economy, and primary producers wanted targeted investment in infrastructure to help the sector continue to prosper and grow for the benefit of all Queenslanders.
“Demand for our high quality food and fibre is growing, but transport can make up 30 – 40 per cent of the cost of production so we need more investment in road and rail infrastructure that makes it safer, easier and cheaper to get farm goods to market.” .
“, AgForce would like a pool of funds set aside to enable local councils to work with industry to address ‘first and last mile issues’ and to encourage planning works and route assessments which offer the greatest benefit to our regional economies”
Mr Maudsley says the organization also wants to see new funding for highway upgrades in north, central and western Queensland.
“We’d also urge the State Government to invest in a rail freight infrastructure project proposed by GrainCorp that could create hundreds of jobs, take 20,000 trucks off regional roads and boost Queensland’s exports earnings.”
Mr Maudsley says the recent Federal Government commitment of $8 million to continue efforts to upgrade and improve water infrastructure in the Great Artesian Basin was very welcome, and it was important the Queensland Government provided their share to keep the program going.
“The Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative has been a fantastic water saving program delivering wins for the environment, primary producers and rural economies, but we can’t stop now with an estimated 185 bores still requiring rehabilitation and 5250km of bore drains to be replaced.”
“The assistance the Federal and State Governments have provided so far to help sheep producers build fences to protect their flock has made an enormous difference in getting the industry back on its feet, but the job is not yet done.”
“Without exclusion fences, there’s no sheep, it’s as simple as that. Cluster fencing funding has been oversubscribed to date, which highlights how eager producers are to restock with sheep in the 45 million hectares of Queensland that is suitable for sheep grazing.”
Other initiatives AgForce would be keen to see featured in the State Budget include:
• Continued investment to fix mobile phone black spots in regional, rural and remote areas;
• More funding for biosecurity awareness to ensure producers understand their rights and obligations;
• Continued funding for the eradication of red imported fire ants;
• Extension of the intergenerational farm transfer duty exemption to include family trusts and companies.