April 4, 2012

The Queensland Farmers’ Federation says it is looking forward to a constructive relationship with new Queensland Agriculture Minister John McVeigh.

“Although Mr McVeigh is new to State Parliament, he brings with him the experience of local government in the Toowoomba Regional Council and, importantly, agricultural and agribusiness experience,” QFF CEO Dan Galligan said.

“We look forward to working with him to achieve positive outcomes for agriculture, following the policy principles set down by the LNP to ensure the sector is one of the ‘four pillars’ of the Queensland economy.”

The new Minister for Natural Resources and Mines is Andrew Cripps (Hinchinbrook), and the Assistant Minister is Lisa France (Pumicestone).

“Mr Cripps showed a good understanding of and commitment to agriculture as the Opposition spokesman, and he clearly has a handle on the challenges facing farmers, particularly with his background in North Queensland,” Mr Galligan said.

“This experience will be vital for him in this portfolio, which traditionally holds significant influence over much of the success for farming businesses.

“Ms France is a qualified environmental scientist and with such a broad portfolio the move to add an assistant Minister seems well considered. Intriguingly, this portfolio includes responsibility for mines, so we look forward to working with Mr Cripps and Ms France to ensure that the needs of agriculture are addressed in relation to the interactions between farmers and the resources sector.

“The LNP has set a target of doubling food production by 2040, which is a highly commendable and ambitious target. The new Ministry will have no time to waste in laying the groundwork to meet this challenge.

“Beyond these Ministerial announcements, the next stage to bring life to these new structures of government will be as the bureaucracy and legislative arrangements align under the new Ministers.

“The early signs in these announcements are that the Government will be rolling back the departmental structures to something similar to the pre-2009 arrangements.

“The ability for the Government to deliver on its growth target will be contingent on strong Ministerial leadership. It will be in the yet-to-be clarified departmental structures that we will see whether the new Minister for Agriculture is given the opportunity to really drive and advocate for a strong farming sector in Queensland as he sits around the all-important Cabinet table.

“It has been a busy week for the new Government, but there is a whole range of policy challenges on the table that will require immediate attention and this new Cabinet team must move quickly.

“These include Queensland Competition Authority reviews on electricity prices and water; Murray Darling water planning reform; the impacts of the carbon tax; reviews of land access laws; the list goes on.”

Mr Galligan said that QFF would be seeking meetings with all the relevant Ministers at the earliest opportunity.

Anderssons Fruit Market for quality fruits and vegetables