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Upgrades vital to CQ industries

WANTING ANSWERS: AgForce Central Queensland regional president John Baker says improvements are needed to road and rail infrastructure.
WANTING ANSWERS: AgForce Central Queensland regional president John Baker says improvements are needed to road and rail infrastructure. Chris Ison ROK230616cland3

CATTLE and grain producers spend 30-40% of their cost of production on transport alone, so it's no wonder Central Queensland farmers are calling for improvements to road and rail infrastructure.

Infrastructure, along with land use laws, was on the agenda of items to discuss earlier this week when the state cabinet met in Rockhampton.

AgForce Central Queensland regional president John Baker said agriculture underpinned thousands of direct and indirect jobs and was vital to the region's economy, so governments at all levels needed to adopt the right policy settings for the industry to flourish into the future.

"Transport is a major cost for cattle and grains producers, making up to 30-40% of the cost of production, so improved road and rail infrastructure, along with reduced red tape, all help get produce from paddock to plate or paddock to port as efficiently as possible,” he said.

"AgForce welcomes the Queensland Government's funding to improve road train access to the Rockhampton meat processors and are pleased work has started, but we'd like to get some clear answers about time frames and the access requirements.

"There is also an urgent need for the State Government to join with industry in investing in better rail infrastructure for grains freight to the Gladstone port, which would help create regional jobs, reduce costs for growers and ensure export opportunities for Queensland aren't lost to Western Australia or New South Wales.”

Mr Baker said the Palaszczuk government's plan to introduce harsh and unnecessary vegetation management restrictions remained a major issue for farmers and would not be forgotten in the lead-up to the next State Election.

"The Premier says she is a leader who listens and that she's 'focused on the regions', yet she continues to back a policy aimed at appeasing extreme green views in Brisbane at the expense of jobs in Central Queensland, including in the meat processing sector,” he said.

"Only last week it was revealed the Wilderness Society wants to send in the drones to fly over farmers' properties and spy on them as part of a continued campaign against farmers who legitimately and legally manage their land.

"Does the Premier condone this group's actions?

"This week's visit to the Beef Capital is the perfect opportunity for the Premier to show she is serious about economic development in the regions by dumping her flawed vegetation management policy and committing to a bipartisan, workable land-use policy that can stand the test of time,” Mr Baker said.

"We need governments at all levels to stop allowing good agricultural land to be taken away and to allow us to manage our land productively.

"We don't need ridiculous restrictions and regulations that lock up our land unnecessarily and make it harder to produce high-quality food and fibre.”

Topics:  agforce queensland cattle farming


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