AgForce today, at the opening of Ekka 2019 to the general public, asked the question, “Who will stand up for regional Queensland?”
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 tough.
“First and foremost, we’re here for our members,” Mrs Somerset said.
“But regional 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.
“That’s tough, 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.”
Read more facts, stats and stories about what’s happening in regional Queensland at www.standupforqldag.org.au, and take part online using #standupforqldag