Horticulture industry's priorities can’t be ignored

DRAFT regional plans for the Darling Downs and Central Queensland were recently released.

These plans, once finalised, are likely to become the templates for the development of plans in other regions in Queensland and will provide the framework for protecting agricultural land from the expanding resources sector.

We support the development of the regional plans and the principles on which they are built, that is, the agricultural sector's protection and its sustainable co-existence with other competing interests.

Queensland Farmers' Federation, of which Growcom is a member, has led the charge in marshalling comments from industry on the two initial plans, with the cotton industry being the most active player given its prominence in these two regions.

A submission to the Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning was made in September.

While horticultural production is small in the area considered under the two plans, Growcom is engaged in the process and keeping a watching brief on developments.

The review of the South East Queensland Regional Plan that is now under way will have a significant effect on horticultural production in the south-east corner of the state.

To assist in the protection of agricultural production from coal seam gas developments, the plans specify the importance of Priority Agricultural Land Uses, which Growcom welcomes.

But how this will be implemented and translated into action on the ground remains to be seen?

Of greater concern to us, however, is that these two initial plans ignore completely a significant area of disputation in our industry.

While they look at resolving potential land use and development conflicts between agriculture and mineral and gas resources, the issue of conflict between agricultural and urban land use is not even considered.

Horticulture production tends to be concentrated around significant and growing population centres, leading to displacement by urban expansion.

For this reason, we advocate that the government include the resolution of peri-urban issues in drafting regional plans for areas where horticultural production is an important industry worth millions of dollars annually to local economies.

Topics:  alex livingstone growcom horticulture

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