Councillor James Hansen is critical of Fraser Coast Opportunities.
Councillor James Hansen is critical of Fraser Coast Opportunities. File

Audit of farming shows a downturn

THE region's agricultural industry has been audited by Fraser Coast Opportunities in an effort to better market and boost the sector's economy.

After repeated calls from rural councillor James Hansen for FCO to be more involved in agriculture, the marketing body undertook an audit.

It compared the Fraser Coast to Regional Queensland between 2005 and 2011.

Analysis showed there was a $2million growth in citrus fruit and broadacre crops in our region.

"There's certainly some good work done and it gives us a good snapshot of where we were around 10 years ago to where we are now," Cr Hansen said.

"I'm very pleased that FCO has done this work and it's good to see that they're really pushing agriculture in the region now."

"It clearly identifies the industries that are doing well."

But the audit also showed a loss of about $2million in the dairy and nut industries.

"The once very vibrant dairy industry has now disappeared," Cr Hansen said.

And there were about 80 fewer jobs in the Fraser Coast's agriculture sector than there were in 2005.

Cr Hansen said he would use these numbers to grow the region and get more people re-engaged in the industry.

"It gives us a focus on where we can put our energy," he said.

"There's no doubt agriculture is tough at the moment and if you go through the audit you can see the numbers of people engaged in agriculture is a really alarming thing because it's really dropped away a lot.

"The best way of fixing it is the farmers need to get a better return for their produce."

Cr Hansen plans to put pressure on the State and Federal governments to make that happen.

FCO general manager David Spear said the audit was completed as a preliminary draft and would be added to as new data became available.

You can read the audit by visiting economy.id.com.au/fraser-coast/value-of-agriculture.



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