AgForce has been quick to welcome the latest Federal Government drought relief measures saying they’re a boost for Queensland farmers and regional towns.
AgForce Queensland CEO Michael Guerin says the announcement of additional measures will also build resilience to better deal with current and future events.
“We welcome the $22 million for Queensland councils to spend on projects in drought-stricken areas, and additional funding for the Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative – a fantastic water saving program that delivers wins for the environment, primary producers and rural economies.”
“The funding for regional water infrastructure and changes to tax settings to encourage producers to invest in fodder storage will help build further resilience and productivity at both the regional and on-farm levels.”
He says AgForce had been calling for measures such as these and had also sought a simplification and faster processing of applications for assistance so that commitment from the Federal Government should deliver positive results.
“With these new announcements from the Federal Government, it’s now vital the Queensland Government also steps up, particularly around water infrastructure for agricultural development.”
“AgForce is urging the Queensland Government to invest in new regional capital works projects, increase education assistance for children from remote areas, and provide leasehold land rent and council rates relief.”
“The Queensland Government also needs to rethink its new vegetation management laws that are making it more costly and complex for farmers to feed their animals during drought.”
Mr Guerin says AgForce had developed an ‘Agricultural Business Cycle’ approach to drought policy, which aims to move from the current reactive, crisis-driven response from government to empowering producers to better manage climate risk.
“It’s about ensuring producers have ownership of drought preparedness and are rewarded for proactive management and efforts to improve their resilience. It’s also about ensuring producers can access the type of assistance they need when they need it to manage drought,” .
“Drought has such a big impact on Australian agriculture and extended dry periods are a recurring feature, so we need governments at all levels and politicians on all sides to come together with industry to work on a sustainable approach to managing this issue now and into the future.”