QFF scrutinises full extent of agricultural policies
As the nation readies itself to hit the polling booths this weekend, the Queensland Farmers’ Federation has developed its final analysis of rural policies announced during the campaign.
QFF CEO Dan Galligan said all political parties had made agricultural policy announcements over the last five weeks, but not one of them stood out as delivering the full suite of policies that would see agriculture grow profitably and sustainably.
“On climate change, the Coalition has proposed a direct action plan that shows promise for agriculture. The ALP has also made a positive move by vowing to open up the carbon trading market for farmers.
“Unfortunately, the overall Labor policy on climate remains unclear and the citizen’s assembly proposal only appears to have muddied the waters. The agriculture industry has not been given any certainty from Labor about how such drastic reform would affect them after the election.
“The Greens propose deep cuts to emissions and an interim carbon tax. Both of these would wreak havoc on the Queensland farm sector.”
Mr Galligan said the Murray Darling Basin was once again a focus with policies from both the Coalition and Labor.
“Irrigators now have some certainty surrounding their property right from both major parties. Nonetheless, we expect sizeable reductions in water use in the forthcoming Basin Plan, even though the details have been kept secret during the election.
“Communities will be facing significant socioeconomic adjustment. The Coalition made recognition of that in its announcements – we wish that Labor would have done the same.”
Mr Galligan said food security and sustainable populations had also been deployed as political levers during the campaign, but policies in this area had strayed from the true need for reform.
“The issue is about a food policy more than food security. We need to make sure we are protecting our farmland and encouraging regional population growth.
“The ALP is taking the right steps with its announcement to look at the food value chain. While the Coalition isn’t adopting the same approach, it is promising a welcome commitment to increase the government research and development funding.”
Mr Galligan said, all up, the politicians had promised a raft of policies, some good, some underwhelming, and others in need of much more detail.
“Ultimately, the best outcome would be a combination of the best of all of the parties’ policies. That’s extremely unlikely – so we now await the outcome of the election to gain a clearer vision of where Queensland agriculture might be headed in the next three years.”