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Water project initiatives retained

Alex Livingstone.
Alex Livingstone.

GROWCOM was pleased to see the Rural Water Use Efficiency Initiative and South East Queensland Irrigation Futures program were retained and provided with funding for the next financial year in the State Budget.

These are vital programs with excellent track records in improving horticulture's water use efficiency and sustainability.

We will be very interested to view details of the Rebuilding Agriculture and Horticulture Research and Development program announced in the budget.

We are hopeful that the Boosting our Biosecurity Program also announced will have a strong focus on plant biosecurity.

A further $7.6 million is provided for agriculture and horticulture research into increasing productivity in the export sector.

Another item for horticulture was $500,000 in funding for the development of a new Horticulture Workforce Plan. Growcom welcomes the $3m allocated to training for farm industries.

The main budget cut affecting our sector was the removal of state funding from the joint Commonwealth-State funded Farm Financial Counselling service.

This will reduce the number of farm financial counsellors by about half.

Growcom has continually advocated for the Bruce Highway to be brought up to all-weather status, and we are pleased to see that almost $500m will be spent on this main trunk route this year, in addition to a commitment of $1b over 10 years, contingent on the federal government providing matching funding.

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