Queensland’s food and fibre sector is growing jobs as well as sugar cane, chickpeas and avocados.
Despite the drought that still afflicts large parts of the state, there’s been a rich harvest of new employment opportunities in agriculture, forestry and fishing in the past 12 months.
Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said the sector had created 10,500 new jobs between June 2017 and June 2018.
“The latest Labour Force Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows primary production in Queensland continues to do much more than put food on our plates,” Mr Furner said.
“The new high growth crop for Queensland’s farms is jobs and that’s because our producers and food sector businesses are working hard to take advantage of new opportunities.
“It is also because the programs put in place by the Palaszczuk Government are working.”
Mr Furner said creating jobs for Queenslanders was the government’s highest priority.
“Our produce has a fantastic reputation for quality and reliability both at home and abroad.
“That is why it is in demand and our farmers are meeting that demand.”
Mr Furner said our agriculture industry continues to grow on the back of technological advances and the courting of expanding Asian export markets.
“The Palaszczuk Government has invested tens of millions of dollars to ensure the produce we send overseas is not only of the highest quality but is also tailored to specific regional tastes, whether that be in markets in Japan or supermarket shelves in Indonesia,” he said.
“We have also continued to support the Queensland Agriculture Workers Network (QAWN) and Rural Jobs and Skills Alliance to support and facilitate employment opportunities for people in rural and regional parts of the state.
“In this year’s budget more than $3 million was allocatedto these programs to continue the good work being done in this area.”
Carl Walker, president of Bowen Gumlu Growers Association and owner of Phantom Produce, said QAWN was playing an important role in helping producers to expand their workforces.
“The Queensland Agriculture Workforce Network has assisted growers in the North Queensland region to connect with the available employment and training initiatives, which help us to employ a more sustainable workforce,” he said.
“As farmers we are able to go about our core business of growing fruit and vegetables, QAWN provides us with an essential information resource to help us to attract and employ people with the right skills and attributes at all stages of the season.
“Bowen Gumlu Growers Association enjoys working constructively with the Queensland State Government to achieve outcomes which are good for our industry and look forward to this role continuing well into the future”
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries
The Honourable Mark Furner