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Queensland budget shines light on Forestry

Agriculture’s future as one of the four pillars of the Queensland economy has been secured in the Newman Government’s first Budget. Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry John McVeigh said $442.4 million would be invested into the now stand-alone department. Source: My Sunshine Coast

“This is evidence of the Newman Government’s commitment to this vital industry,” he said.

McVeigh said the Newman Government had a positive plan to rebuild the sector after years of neglect by the former Government.

“By the end of Labor’s reign, agriculture didn’t even have its own department,” he said. “We’ve already changed that.”

McVeigh said the Department was refocusing its priorities, with a new emphasis on providing critical frontline services for the agricultural, forestry and fishing industries.

The $442.4 million available in this Budget is being directed into several key areas, including $7.6 million (over four years) towards agriculture research and development aimed at increasing the productivity of Queensland’s key export sectors.

A total of $3 million will be used to rebuild research and development including support for barley breeding, irrigated agronomy including in the Flinders and Gilbert catchments, a new agronomist for the Central Highlands, and work on managing tree size in horticultural tree crops.

“We are also working hard to improve the availability of labour and skills for our farm industries by investing $3.5 million over three years in workforce planning and training,” Mr McVeigh said.

“In 2012-13, capital expenditure by DAFF will total $19.7 million with a strong focus on developing and upgrading regional research facilities,” he said.

“The past few months have seen some difficult financial and structural changes, but we have laid the foundation for a strong, more efficient department focused on the needs of agriculture, fishing and forestry industries. We’ve examined programs, activities and staffing levels to ensure this budget directs funds to areas that will drive real increases in production.”