State Election policies a ‘mixed bag’ for Queensland farmers

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AgForce today released its State Election scorecard which uses a ‘star system’ to rate the agricultural commitments announced by the major and minor parties against the four policy priority areas in AgForce’s ‘Thriving Farms, Thriving Queensland’ platform.

The four policy priority areas included:

– Supporting our Rural Families;

– Healthy Environments – Protecting Our Land and Water;

– Growing Agriculture and Enhancing Profitability; and

– Connecting Queensland.

AgForce General President Grant Maudsley says this State Election has seen some welcome infrastructure announcements such as the LNP’s pledge to invest in regional roads, dams and bridges, as well as $20 million towards fixing mobile phone black spots in the bush.

“Both Labor and the LNP committed to Bruce Highway upgrades and more wild dog exclusion fencing, with Labor committing $5 million over two years for fencing and the LNP promising $25 million over four years for various pest and weed management measures, including cluster fencing.”

The Katter’s Australian Party and One Nation also provided solid support for an agricultural growth agenda, backing better roads, improved water access and new dams.

“With about two-thirds of Queensland still drought declared, it was also good to see all political parties acknowledge the need for continued assistance and to improvements for future events.”

Mr Maudsley says vegetation management laws was the biggest issue of concern to AgForce members and the biggest point of difference between the political parties.

“While the LNP, KAP and One Nation have voiced support for maintaining fair and balanced laws put in place by the previous Government, Labor and the Greens want to re-introduce flawed laws already rightly rejected by the Queensland Parliament.”

“More and more farmers are voluntarily adopting best management practice programs and politicians need to recognise that sustainable development and good environmental outcomes can be achieved without always resorting to more regulations.”

Mr Maudsley says other positives announced during the campaign included the LNP’s $10.8m biosecurity boost and $2m for quad bike safety rebates, while Labor promised $10m for Rural Economic Development Grants and $1m for chickpea and pulses research and development.

“Overall, several but not all of AgForce’s policy priorities have been supported by major and minor parties” he said.

“We will be encouraging the Government, whomever that may be after Saturday, to develop a co-ordinated, whole-of- government approach in consultation with industry to deliver long term, strategic and sustainable policies to grow Queensland agriculture.”

“Because if agriculture thrives, Queensland thrives.”