Newman to speak with farmers about industry's challenges

AgForce state councillor and Calliope branch president Leo Neill-Ballantine.
AgForce state councillor and Calliope branch president Leo Neill-Ballantine. Daniel Burdon

PREMIER Campbell Newman has impressed farmers in the Gladstone region by agreeing to a face-to-face meeting on Friday, but they will be hoping for more than just a chat.  

AgForce state councillor and Calliope branch president Leo Neill-Ballantine said the Premier's visit showed a commitment to agriculture.  

The AgForce event will be held this morning with Agriculture Minister John McVeigh.  

Cr Neill-Ballantine said there were some big challenges facing the industry.  

One example at the moment, for the cattle industry, is the outbreak of Bovine Johne's disease (BJD), which was found in central Queensland recently.

Cr Neill-Ballantine said more funding was needed to keep on top of the problem.  

He also said red tape needed to be cut if Queensland's farmers were to grasp growing export opportunities.  

"In terms of exporting overseas, there is a lot of red tape just to export products to the likes of China," Cr Neill-Ballantine said.

"The State Government, working in conjunction with the Federal Government could go a long way to ease a bit of that pressure.

"At the end of the day, if we are going to double the value of agriculture by 2040 (as stated by the government), unless we've got more markets I don't really see how it is going to be happening (unless red tape is reduced."  

Cr Neill-Ballantine also said there were concerns about the new LNP Government's CQ Strategic Plan for land use in the region.

That plan is, to say the least, complicated.  

Mr Neill-Ballantine hopes to discuss it with the Premier today.  

A spokesperson for the Premier said agriculture was a high priority for the government.  

"As one of the four pillars of Queensland's economy, agriculture has an enormous role to play in rebuilding the state's finances," he said.  

"On Friday we'll discuss key issues such as frontline services for regions and our commitment to cut the red tape imposed on farmers.  

"We'll also be discussing research and development initiatives aimed at doubling Queensland's food production by 2040."

Topics:  agforce boyne valley campbell newman farmers gladstone region

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