Budget doesn't stack up for Queensland agriculture.

The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) and industry members are underwhelmed by a lacklustre 2018-19 State Budget that lacks vision and overlooks the important role agriculture plays in Queensland’s economy.
 
QFF CEO Travis Tobin said that while the Queensland Government had delivered on its election commitments, this year’s Budget was again a missed opportunity to address some critical competitiveness and productivity issues, and exciting growth opportunities for the sector, which would benefit all Queenslanders.
 
“Credit to the government for fully delivering on its election commitments, upholding biosecurity funding for the Red Imported Fire Ant and Panama Tropical Race 4 eradication programs and maintaining funding for existing drought relief arrangements,” Mr Tobin said.
 
However, Mr Tobin said that some of the critical and important bigger picture issues facing the sector had been ignored.
 
“We must start to see a higher priority and more strategic intent for agriculture in the government’s most significant annual document.”
 
“By 2030, two-thirds of the world’s middle class will be living in the Asia-Pacific region. To make the most of this demographic shift and subsequent demand for food and clothing, Queensland agriculture will need to intensify so we must address current competitiveness challenges and increase investment in the longer-term enablers and drivers of sustainable and profitable intensified production systems.”
 
“That means genuinely addressing electricity and water affordability and the productivity nexus between them, targeted connection infrastructure funding, and strategic spending on risk management to help deal with climate variability. Much of this was outlined before the last election.”
 
“We also need to reverse the continued divestment in the sector. While there is a slight increase in total portfolio funding this year, in real terms State Government spending on agriculture has decreased at an average annual rate of 1.7% over the last 15 years.”
 
“With the government’s effort to make sure election commitments were funded now out of the way, it is time to refocus the agenda on targeted and strategic investment that will help drive the sector forward to capitalise on the opportunities that exist.”
 
“We have waited a long time for the Agricultural Ministerial Council to be established, so when it does finally get off the ground, the sector’s competitiveness, productivity and development must be its focus.”