Bud­get rated let­down

AgForce boss claims State Bud­get falls short for farm­ers

Central and North Burnett Times - - LIFE -

FARM lobby groups have crit­i­cised the 2017-2018 State Bud­get for its lax re­sponse to agri­cul­tural is­sues.

AgForce gen­eral pres­i­dent Grant Maud­s­ley said the State Govern­ment had out­lined no clear vi­sion to help the in­dus­try grow and pros­per.

“While there are bil­lions of dol­lars set aside for road and rail projects in south east Queens­land, there ap­pears to be no ma­jor new fund­ing for re­gional and ru­ral trans­port ini­tia­tives that would make it safer, eas­ier and cheaper to get farm goods to mar­ket,” Mr Maud­s­ley said.

Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture Bill Byrne said ad­di­tional fund­ing would be al­lo­cated to sup­port agri­cul­tural re­cov­ery from the ef­fects of drought in many ar­eas, as well as an in­vest­ment in drought re­silience.

“While rain­fall re­ceived so far has seen a re­duc­tion in drought-de­clared ar­eas to a lit­tle more than 66%t, much of Queens­land is still in the grip of this drought and pro­vi­sion has been made for up to $20 mil­lion in ex­pen­di­ture for the Drought Re­lief As­sis­tance Scheme,” Mr Byrne said.

Mr Maud­s­ley wel­comed the con­tin­ued as­sis­tance mea­sures for those bat­tling drought.

“The pro­longed drought has taken an enor­mous fi­nan­cial, emo­tional and en­vi­ron­men­tal toll on many Queens­lan­ders so as­sis­tance to help pri­mary pro­duc­ers and re­gional com­mu­ni­ties through th­ese tough times is al­ways wel­come,” he said.

Mr Maud­s­ley how­ever crit­i­cised the $1.25 mil­lion al­lo­ca­tion spent on pest and dis­ease man­age­ment, claim­ing it fell short of the mark.

“Wild dog ex­clu­sion fenc­ing has helped re­vi­talise the sheep and wool in­dus­try in Queens­land, and while the ex­tra $1 mil­lion in fund­ing is wel­come, it falls short of what is needed to meet de­mand,” he said.

Mr Byrne said re­sponse and erad­i­ca­tion is a top pri­or­ity across Queens­land.

PHOTO: FILE

NOT GOOD ENOUGH: AgForce Queens­land pres­i­dent Grant Maud­s­ley is dis­ap­pointed with the State Bud­get.

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