The incoming Palaszczuk Government has been challenged to demonstrate their promised commitment to the State’s $18 billion agriculture industry as it prepares to lead Queensland for a historic four-year term.
AgForce Cane President Ricky Mio said the incoming Government must engage fully and genuinely with regional Queensland if it wanted to navigate the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-induced economic, jobs and debt crisis.
“It’s clear that Queensland’s recovery will continue to be led by the regions and the industries like agriculture, resources, and tourism that underpin them,” Mr Mio said.
“I think regional Queensland proved its importance during the election campaign when the leaders of both Labor and the LNP spent more time there in eight weeks than they had in the previous four years.
“So now, having won the election on the votes of regional Queensland, the Government has to follow through on their promises.
“First and foremost, the Premier needs to listen to us – for the past two terms we have been shunned and shafted, farmers have been talked to, communication with the Government has been one way.
“They need to genuinely work with primary producers to find solutions to the State’s significant economic, employment, and environmental challenges, not just tell us what to do.”
Mr Mio said the Government’s first responsibility was to work with the State’s farmers to rebuild mutual trust, respect, and co-operation when for so long they have been treated like the enemy.
“Farmers are leading the way and, quite frankly, carrying the load in taking measures to safeguard the Reef, reduce carbon emissions, and preserve our natural environment – but we are still being treated as environmental vandals,” he said.
“Our industries face many challenges in these areas, but what we produce is vital to the Australian community – we need to work together to ensure we can continue to provide that.
“And this is where the Government must take a lead role, rather than pandering to minority interests that don’t reflect the average Australian’s views or priorities in terms of work, life, and nature.”
Mr Mio said that, first and foremost, the Government needed to not just create but implement a comprehensive vision for agriculture.
“We stand ready to roll up our sleeves and work with the Government for the benefit of industry, communities, and the environment,” he said.
“So the most important thing is that they pick up the phone and talk to us as people, as farming families, as businesses, and as constituents.”