WESTERN Queensland is set to benefit from a $25 million investment into cluster fencing, baiting programs, and strategic weed management under an LNP government.
In the first visit to Western Queensland by the leader of either major political party, the LNP's Tim Nicholls flanked by his deputy Deb Frecklington made the commitment during a visit to Western Meat Exports at Charleville.
The announcement was part of the LNP's major policy announcement on agriculture, which has been identified as one of six drivers of jobs and economic growth.
The plan has been developed in consultation with farm groups during the past six months.
Western Meat Exports owner Campbell McPhee welcomed the announcement saying the meatworks required a consistent supply of sheep and cattle to be sustainable.
Coincidently, the Charleville abattoir is the only meatworks in Australia protected a wild dog fence. It is a major employer in regional Queensland.
The LNP also pledged a $500 rebate for fitting approved safety devices on quad bikes. Mr Nicholls said the rebate capped at $2m would be available for four years for primary producers to fit roll over and crush protection devices on new or existing quad bikes.
Mr Nicholls and Mrs Frecklington also visited Emerald where the LNP leader took a half-million dollar John Deere tractor for a lap about the Vanderfields’ yard.
LNP opposition agriculture spokesman Dale Last said vegetation management remains the most talked about issue followed by electricity pricing, particularly among irrigators.
Mr Nicholls said the LNP would strengthen Queensland agriculture through better roads and rail infrastructure and rail services – improving access to markets and ports.
“Our plan focuses on helping farmers and helping drive more investment to support more jobs,” Mr Nicholls said.
Initiatives in the LNP plan include:
• Establishing an Agricultural Cabinet Committee to ensure industry can talk directly to government decision-makers to tackle issues impacting the industry.
• Maintaining fair vegetation management laws under which land clearing has been about 30 per cent lower than the average over the last 28 years.
• Improving weed and pest management by investing an additional $25m over four years. This funding will be available for cluster fencing, targeted baiting programs and strategic spraying and infrastructure to stop the spread of seeds.
• Re-establishing the Energy and Water Council scrapped by Labor, giving farmers a seat at the table to tackle the issues behind spiralling electricity prices, including water charges and electricity tariff reforms.
• Providing $500m to Royalties for Regions to deliver better infrastructure so agriculture commodities can get to market quicker, and at a lower cost.
• Fairly administering firearm laws to allow farmers to manage pests.
• Proving $10.8m over four years for improvements to biosecurity capacity. Queensland is known for disease-free, high-quality produce. This reputation is essential to continue to grow agricultural exports and capitalise on the increasing global demand for high-quality agricultural produce.
• Reducing Panama TR4 risks to the Far North Queensland banana industry, the LNP will invest $3m over four years to reduce the feral pig population that damages sensitive areas of the Wet Tropics and spreads contaminated soil.
If elected, Mr Nicholls said the importance of $3 billion forestry and timber industry would be recognised with the department’s previous Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to be restored.