High value crops could become a key feature of the agricultural landscape in Far North Queensland and the vision of a ‘northern food bowl’ could be fully realized if the Queensland Government was willing to back balanced and sensible land use laws, AgForce said.
AgForce General President Grant Maudsley said the Queensland Premier’s visit to the Far North was the ideal opportunity to follow up her words of support for agricultural exports like chick peas with real action by abandoning plans to re-introduce flawed vegetation management laws.
“The latest Census data shows Queensland is now the leading agricultural state in the country, and we can grow even more with the right policy settings from governments,” he said.
“There is enormous potential for high value cropping opportunities in the Far North, as recent trials of sorghum, maize, rice and sesame at Olive Vale Station near Laura have demonstrated.
“These developments mean more jobs for local people, particularly local Indigenous people, and it could also lead to value adding opportunities for the northern beef industry and a more integrated livestock and agribusiness supply chain.
“However, high value agriculture clearing permits would be banned if the Government re-introduces harsh and unnecessary vegetation management restrictions.
“It begs the question – why does the Government want to make life harder for Queensland farmers when we are leading the way for the rest of Australia? It’s like kicking an own goal when your team has all the forward momentum.”
Mr Maudsley said it was now almost a year since the Queensland Parliament rejected flawed vegetation management laws, yet the Government still refused to consult, compromise and commit to a bi-partisan, workable land use policy that stands the test of time.
“AgForce has always said we are willing to work through a science and evidence based process that protects the environment and ensures the sustainability and growth of Queensland agriculture,” he said.
“Farmers care about and know how to manage their land, and it’s time the Government started putting good policy ahead of green politics. All we are asking for is fair and balanced laws so we can produce more food and create more jobs.”