AgForce today, at the opening of Ekka
2019 to the general public, asked the question, “Who will stand up for regional
AgForce General President
Georgie Somerset said they had taken the unprecedented action of launching a
movement to engage people from metropolitan areas, because she couldn’t recall
another period in history when people in regional Queensland were doing it so
“First and foremost,
we’re here for our members,” Mrs Somerset said.
Queensland is suffering, and if regional Queensland is suffering, we’re all
suffering, all the way from the city to the bush.
“Limited water, lack
of connectivity, poor roads, a shortage of, or in some cases no, teachers,
police and doctors.
“I heard a story
from an AgForce member just yesterday who runs a property less than two hours
from Brisbane, and the local petrol station has closed. Now, if you want to
fill up, you have to drive almost 30 minutes each way.
especially on the elderly, disabled and other vulnerable people in the area,”
Mrs Somerset said.
“That’s why we’re
doing this, to raise awareness about what’s going on, and what better time and
place than during these ten days of Ekka, one of the only times of the year
when people from the country come to the city to speak about what it is they
do, and those from the city can engage with it.
“But it doesn’t have
to be that way. There are 51 other weeks in the year when people from urban
areas can get out to the regions and say g’day, see for themselves what’s
happening, make up their own minds.”
Mrs Somerset said
AgForce would continue to ask the question: “Who will stand up for regional
Queensland?” in an effort to foster that Queensland spirit of mateship that so
often comes to the fore when our backs are to the wall.
“Over the weekend
you’ll begin to see our ads – our call to sit up and take notice – both in the
major newspapers and on prime-time television,” Mrs Somerset said.
“We’re going hard at
this because it’s so important.
“People in rural and
regional Queensland are facing incredible hardship, but they feel undeniable
gratitude for the outpouring of support they’ve already received from their
brothers and sisters in metropolitan areas over the past 12 months or more.
“We should all
remember there are some countries, like Singapore, that don’t have enough land
to grow their own produce and instead import almost all their food from abroad.
“Even the most
militant animal activist couldn’t survive without agriculture growing their mung
beans and chickpeas and wheat.
“Our new Country
Connection membership will bridge any perceived divide between those from the
city and country, and welcomes especially young people from metropolitan areas
who want to connect more with what’s happening in the bush.
“The truth is though,
no matter what we do, there will always be some who focus on the apparent differences
in what are their selfish efforts to fuel their own agendas, rather than
looking to the much wider, much greater good.
“That’s why this
today, at Ekka, is only the first step in a much longer journey to unite all of
us, no matter who you are or where you’re from.
“In the end, we all
need agriculture to survive.”