11 November, 2020
Creating a vision with the next Queensland Government
By the time this column goes to print, Queenslanders will have cast their vote on who they want to see form the next Queensland Government. Regardless of which side of politics wins the election the Queensland industry has one request – let the handbrake off horticulture.
Despite the disruption caused by COVID-19, horticulture remains resilient and possesses some of the most promising potential for a rebound of the Queensland economy. We are the second largest and fastest growing agricultural sector.
Ensuing Queensland has a thriving and prosperous horticulture industry will be of critical importance – not only for creating new jobs, and to the regional communities that rely on agriculture to survive, but to all Queenslanders who want access to high-quality, nutritious food to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Prior to the election the Queensland Horticulture Council (QHC) released its election platform, A green spring in Queensland, the launch pad from which the Queensland horticulture industry will propel itself to even greater long-term sustainability and profitability.
Among the commitments the QHC was seeking was 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 the $3 billion production horticulture industry.
We are calling on the next Queensland Government to convene a summit of leaders in horticulture to set a new vision for our industry within the first 100 days of forming government. We want a dedicated industry strategy developed and an industry-led group to oversee its implementation and evaluation.
The QHC was also seeking commitments from the next Queensland Government on improving water and energy affordability, and investing in drought and climate initiatives, sustainability, innovation, skills and training, biosecurity, transport, and export market development.
Each of the competitive advantages the Queensland horticulture industry currently enjoys will be challenged in some way by competitors using new, disruptive technologies.
We are still enjoying the legacy of past significant investments into research and the development of tropical horticulture. This pipeline of improvements must continue to flow.
So we are also calling on the new Government to develop a R&D strategy for tropical horticulture, to focus our strengths and draw research investment into Queensland from interstate and overseas.
Politicians can no longer afford to overlook these critical issues that will support the continued growth and development of the horticulture industry in the years ahead.
If the new Government hasn’t already agreed to deliver on our requests, it’s never too late to start the conversation.
Whichever side has won the election and forms the next Queensland Government, Growcom commits to working collaboratively with those in office as we lead the Queensland horticulture industry into the future.
The QHC is the preeminent forum for deliberating horticulture policy in Queensland. It is comprised of representatives from Growcom and each of the major regionally based grower groups and associations. To learn more about A green spring in Queensland visit our website: www.growcom.com.au/a-green-spring-in-queensland.