Queensland’s budget for agriculture ‘lacklustre’ despite more money, lobbyists say

Queensland’s agriculture lobby groups have criticised the state budget as lacking vision, despite an overall rise in the amount of money spent on agriculture.

The Queensland Agriculture and Fisheries budget is $481.7 million for 2018–19, up $57 million compared to last year, and will focus on biosecurity and drought relief.

Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) CEO Travis Tobin said, while the Government had delivered on its election commitments, this year’s budget did not tackle crucial competitiveness and productivity issues that would allow Queensland producers to compete domestically and internationally.

“If we are going to achieve some exciting opportunities that are out there we need strategic intent and longer-term investment for that, and that’s what we would say is the biggest disappointment,” Mr Tobin said.

“By 2030, two thirds of the world’s middle class will be living in the Asia Pacific, right on our doorstep. To make the most of this demographic shift and subsequent demand for food and clothing, investment in Queensland agriculture will need to intensify so we can address competitiveness challenges.”

QFF also highlighted the lack of support for power price relief and telecommunications as key strategic investment opportunities that were missed.

Queensland Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said drought relief arrangements would remain in place with $34.6 million in funding allocated in 2018–19, which is about the same amount as last year despite drought declarations from eight local government areas being revoked last month.

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