Growcom Chief Advocate, Rachel Mackenzie congratulated the Queensland Government on recognising the importance of building a skilled workforce to address a changing horticulture industry.
“Growcom thanks the Queensland Government for its continued support of the QAWN and RJSA programs in developing jobs for regional and rural communities across Queensland,” she said.
“These programs are as important as ever in ensuring the horticulture industry is safeguarded for the future and equipped to handle changes in technology and innovation as well as the pressures of an aging workforce.”
Growcom has also welcomed the $400,000 announced to tackle fruit flies in the Bundaberg region.
“Fruit fly is a significant pest and Bundaberg is a key fruit and vegetable growing region that requires increased biosecurity measures to ensure farm businesses remain productive,” Ms Mackenzie said.
“We similarly welcome continued efforts to eradicate fire ants and stop the further spread of Panama TR4 disease in Australia.”
Ms Mackenzie said the State Budget sensibly prioritises the issue of biosecurity with a commitment of $481.7 million in funding, an increase of almost $57 million from last year’s Budget allocation.
“While the horticulture industry embraces increased funding, Growcom will be asking for clarity on the biosecurity spending and how it is linked to the new strategy and the capability review,” Ms Mackenzie said.
“We need assurance that the overall spending on plants has increased in proportion to animals and that it is strategic and targeted to address critical skills shortages within the department.”