Ahead of the 2020 State Election, the Queensland Horticulture Council (QHC) has today launched its roadmap for horticulture and action plan to reinvigorate rural and regional Queensland – A Green Spring in Queensland.
Growcom Manager, Policy & Advocacy Richard Shannon said A Green Spring in Queensland was the launch pad from which horticulture will propel itself to even greater long-term sustainability and profitability.
“Ensuring Queensland has a thriving and prosperous horticulture industry is of critical importance – not just to the regional communities that rely on agriculture to survive, but to all Queenslanders who want high-quality, nutritious food to maintain a healthy lifestyle,” Mr Shannon said.
“As an industry we are incredibly efficient at turning energy, water and sunlight into nutritious produce, employment opportunities and increased regional wealth. That is why we are asking all political parties this election to let the handbrake off horticulture.”
Among the commitments industry is seeking is a new deal with the next Queensland Government.
“For an industry with so much promise here in Queensland, we lack a vision of where we want to be and a plan of action to get us there. There are state-wide strategies in place for the charter fishing and craft brewing industries, but not for production horticulture,” Mr Shannon said. We need a focus on horticulture within government, clear lines of responsibility and we need to empower the right people to take action. That is why a core commitment the Council asks of the next Government is to convene a summit of leaders in Queensland horticulture to set a new vision for our industry within the first 100 days of the election.”
A green spring in Queensland also includes requests for the next Queensland Government to commit to improved water and energy affordability, and to investments in drought and climate initiatives, sustainability, innovation, skills and training, biosecurity, transport, and export market development.
“There is a direct relationship between lowering the price of our inputs, like power and water, over which the Queensland Government enjoys a near monopoly, and the amount of produce we can deliver, the local communities we can support, and the number of Queenslanders we can employ,” Mr Shannon said.
“For too long, Queensland Governments of all colours have treated their pricing of water and electricity as a means of indirect taxation. We need a new deal with the next Government, one that recognises the immense contribution we can make to the State’s economy."
The QHC is calling on all prospective politicians and their parties to consider the needs of the horticulture industry in the lead-up to the State election.
“Politicians can no longer afford to overlook these issue that will support the continued growth and development of the horticulture industry in the years ahead,” Mr Shannon said.