AgForce congratulates the Coalition Government on its re-election and looks forward to its continued support for Australian agriculture as the sector strives to become an environmentally sustainable, $100 billion a year industry by 2030.
General President Georgie Somerset said she looked forward to achieving AgForce’s priorities through a continued productive working relationship with the Government, recognising its support for producers struggling with the crippling effects of natural disasters and to improving phone and internet services in the bush.
“With Queensland’s vast and diverse landscape presenting as much many challenges as opportunities, we look forward to being involved in the Government’s programs to improve communications and transport infrastructure, manage climate-related issues, and ensure environmental legislation is workable and ultimately effective.
“More than two thirds of Queensland is now drought-declared, so the Government’s commitment of $100 million a year in drought resilience programs through a Drought Future Fund and to the development of a Commonwealth Drought Strategy is critical.
“Transport is a producer’s greatest single expense, so we welcome the Government’s promise of over $500 million for upgrades to the Bruce, Flinders, Kennedy, Dawson, Gregory, Carnarvon and Warrego Highways.
“We also acknowledge the commitment of $220 million to improving coverage and reliability of mobile phone and internet services, improving coverage State-wide, eliminating known ‘blackspots’, and implementing a ‘digital tech hub’ to assist producers most effectively used technologies and services.
“Modern agriculture is a high-tech, precision operation and we appreciate that this Government ‘gets it’.
“The commitment of $30 million to a pilot Agricultural Biodiversity Stewardship Program – plus pledges for an internationally recognised certification scheme and incentives for adoption of sustainable practices – recognises the massive voluntary contribution of primary producers to environmental outcomes like carbon sequestration, landscape and waterway regeneration, and biodiversity protection.
“We applaud the Government’s pledge to meet the Paris Agreement target of a 26 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030, spearheaded by an allocation of $2 billion over 15 years to the Climate Solutions Fund to support farmers invest in emissions reduction and carbon sequestration.”
Mrs Somerset said that remunerating producers for outcomes previously delivered voluntarily would incentivise future efforts and deliver additional benefits like improved drought resilience and Reef water quality.
“The investment of $4 million to partner the National Farmers’ Federation in developing a Biodiversity Certification Scheme and $9.2 million to help farmers adopt sustainable land management practices will return benefits in spades,” she said.
“We point to the outstanding record of incentive-based programs that deliver enduring environmental outcomes and genuine behaviour change compared to the ‘bare minimum’ compliance achieved through costly schemes based on regulation.”
Mrs Somerset said the Coalition’s strong results in regional Queensland brought home the fact that that the unique needs of the State’s diverse communities are a real factor that needs to be addressed by any political party which intends to form government.
“In this vein, we congratulate Bob Katter on his re-election, North Queensland cattle producer and AgForce stalwart Susan McDonald on her election to the Senate, and Labor Country Caucus delegate Senator Chris Ketter on his expected return, as strong supporters over many decades of rural Queensland and agriculture,” she said.
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