ELECTION: Meaningful reforms are needed to rein in electricity prices for farmers.
ELECTION: Meaningful reforms are needed to rein in electricity prices for farmers. FILE

State Election case of deja vu for horticulture

IT IS with a sense of deja vu we head into another Queensland election.

A review of the Growcom 2015 election statement reveals whilst there has been some progress, horticulture is still battling with energy costs, limited protection of agricultural production areas and lack of investment in plant-based biosecurity.

Again we call on all parties to make meaningful reforms to rein in electricity prices and stop blame shifting between political parties and levels of government.

We welcome the recent announcement of an extension to the energy savers program, but this will only solve part of the issue.

We commend the current government for its biosecurity capability review and the development of the new Biosecurity Strategy, however shared responsibility cannot occur until the Queensland Government meets its responsibilities through improved investment in plant biosecurity.

We call on all parties to invest in plant biosecurity to the same level as animal biosecurity, particularly in high level scientific expertise.

Whilst all parties give lip service to the importance of agriculture and agricultural land, we need a consistent and meaningful classification of good quality agricultural land that ensures it is adequately considered in planning decisions.

Whilst we commend the current government for making some progress on developing a strategy to assist agriculture to adapt to climate change, it is disappointing there is a reactive approach to disaster management rather than cultivating a resilience capability across the state.

The BMP framework developed by industry and supported by successive governments is a useful mechanism to deliver on-farm practice change Growcom is seeking to work with any new government to foster this voluntary approach rather than heading towards costly, inflexible regulatory regimes.

In particular, we are calling on both parties to develop a risk-based approach to natural resource management with clearly defined policy objectives

On a more positive note, successive governments have supported workforce development in agriculture and we call on all parties to continue their support for the Queensland Agricultural Workforce Network.