Budget's 'lack of vision'
THE State Budget delivers on the Government's minimal election commitments for agriculture but won't drive the industry forward, AgForce said on Tuesday.
AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said the State Budget contained no surprises for Queensland farmers, was disappointing in its lack of vision and was unlikely to generate much excitement in rural communities.
"Agriculture is one of the pillars of the Queensland's economy and the fastest growing industry in Australia, but has been largely forgotten in a State Budget focused more on big spending infrastructure initiatives in the southeast corner,” he said.
"AgForce acknowledges the continuation of existing drought support funding, but would have liked to have seen additional measures to relieve cost pressures on communities and primary producers suffering through their sixth year of drought.
"The increased funding for the Works for Queensland and Building Our Regions programs will maintain critical infrastructure in regional areas, and the additional $5 million aimed at supporting regional councils to maintain local workforces is a step in the right direction but won't go far.
"While there are some good initiatives for agriculture, the positives are overshadowed by the one big negative of the new vegetation management laws that will shut down new agricultural development opportunities and make it harder for farmers to grow food and fibre.”
Other agriculture initiatives outlined in the Budget include:
$176 million for the Rookwood Weir, which matches the Federal Government's
$3 million over three years for the Rural Jobs and Skills Alliance;
$10 million for the Rural Economic Development Grants Scheme;
Increased funding of $10.1 million to support grazing and other industry BMP programs in Reef catchments, and;
$200,000 for a study into the removal of stamp duty on agricultural insurance products.