MAYOR TAKES PROACTIVE APPROACH Focus on export opportunities
DIGGING the way to China is North Burnett Regional Council Mayor Don Waugh’s long-term vision for local industries.
He declined a personal invitation to join a group of local citrus growers on a trip to meet with Chinese company Cofco at the end of the month, but Cr Waugh said he first wanted to explore avenues for boosting other local industries onto the global export platform.
“These are all long-term plans, dreams really, but I want to see how a relationship with China could help our dairy, beef, pork and small crop industries,” he said.
“Our biggest problem with growth (in the North Burnett) is a small population and limited industries, but there are opportunities to expand out there.”
CrWaugh said the first step in opening up an export trade would be talking to local producers to see if this was a business direction they wanted to pursue, and what they would need to do so.
“We are going to be proactive because that’s what opening up export opportunities will take. Dairy farmers, for example, are probably not in a position to change anything immediately but we need to make sure they start getting better prices for their milk,” he said.
“There are some crucial questions we will start asking now to local farmers and industry bodies, because the opportunities aren’t only in China, they are all over the world.”
He said his council might be able to help in areas like hosting more trade delegations, writing funding applications or working on infrastructure plans.
With meetings planned with milk processing companies and Queensland Trade and Industry, now is the time for local producers to make sure their voices are heard when it comes to future plans.
By the time State Minister for Agriculture John McVeigh visits our region on September 3, Cr Waugh said he wanted to have spoken to producers to understand their take on the future of the export industry.