Bud­get for­gets agri­cul­ture

Central and North Burnett Times - - RURAL LIFE -

DE­SPITE some of the ma­jor pos­i­tives to come out of the 2017/18 state bud­get Queens­land Farm­ers Fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent Stu­art Ar­mitage said agri­cul­ture was still un­der rep­re­sented in the fig­ures.

Mr Ar­mitage said the Queens­land agri­cul­tural sec­tor was unan­i­mously un­der­whelmed with a bud­get that over­looked the im­por­tance and cru­cial role agri­cul­ture plays in Queens­land’s ru­ral and re­gional com­mu­ni­ties.

“The state bud­get has failed to prop­erly fund and sup­port a vi­sion that right­fully places Queens­land agri­cul­ture as a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor and em­ployer in the state,” Mr Ar­mitage said.

“It is dis­ap­point­ing that the re­li­able work­horse of ru­ral and re­gional Queens­land ap­pears to be over­looked in the gov­ern­ment’s vi­sion for the state.”

Mr Ar­mitage high­lighted elec­tric­ity prices, biose­cu­rity and stamp duty re­form as some of the key ar­eas found lack­ing.

“The num­ber one is­sue across agri­cul­ture, and for many other re­gional busi­nesses, is un­sus­tain­able elec­tric­ity prices,” Mr Ar­mitage said.

“The gov­ern­ment’s plan to ad­dress this was out­lined prior to the bud­get, how­ever QFF is re­serv­ing judg­ment un­til some price re­lief is demon­strated.”

The sus­tained calls from the agri­cul­ture sec­tor to con­sider bol­ster­ing the state’s biose­cu­rity sys­tems was also an­other area of con­tention for the QFF.

It was also hoped that the state bud­get would look to re­move a per­ceived in­ef­fi­cient stamp duty tax on agri­cul­tural in­sur­ance.

“It was dis­ap­point­ing that the State Gov­ern­ment chose not to lis­ten to in­dus­try on such sim­ple and prag­matic re­forms,” Mr Ar­mitage said.

Mr Arm­ti­age said the QFF would con­tinue to push for th­ese re­forms.

“QFF and in­dus­try mem­bers will be work­ing with all par­ties lead­ing up the elec­tion to en­sure that our vi­sion for agri­cul­ture is sup­ported,” Mr Ar­mitage said.

“So it con­tin­ues to be a ma­jor pil­lar of the state’s econ­omy and un­der­pins re­gional com­mu­ni­ties.”

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

NOT HAPPY: QFF pres­i­dent Stu­art Ar­mitage wanted more ac­tion on agri­cul­ture.

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