- LNP congratulates agricultural sector for boosts in primary production
- Labor takes credit for growth in agriculture but cuts funding to Ag Department
- Farm water and power charges are sky-rocketing under Labor, outback unemployment is at 50 per cent and infrastructure funding has been cut
The latest AgTrends report highlighted strong growth in the value of state primary production, in stark contrast to Labor’s cuts to Departmental and regional infrastructure investment in the Budget.
LNP Shadow Minister Dale Last said the strong increase in the value of primary production to nearly $20 billion for 2016-17 was to be applauded.
“Agriculture’s bringing home the bacon for Queensland, but that hasn’t Labor from shafting rural and regional Queensland in its Budget,” Mr Last said.
“Primary industries right across Queensland are more than pulling their weight in generating economic benefit and jobs for tens of thousands of Queenslanders.
“Labor and Ag Minister Bill Byrne are quick to take credit for all of this, but they’re not so quick to highlight the cuts to the Agriculture budget and infrastructure spending in the regions.”
Mr Last said for all Labor’s build-up and hype about a “jobs bonanza”, last week’s Budget was a slap in the face for regional Queensland.
“The Budget underlines Labor’s failure to understand and deliver what Queenslanders outside the south east corner really need,” he said.
“Nowhere was there any relief for spiralling electricity and water charges - in fact electricity prices have spiked again, this time by over 5 per cent.
“Nowhere is there any relief from the nation’s highest vehicle rego charges, and nowhere is there any vision or new initiatives to help sustain and grow our vital agricultural industries.”
Mr Last said Western Queensland continued to suffer disastrously high rates of youth unemployment, and with no money in the budget for the LNP’s successful Royalties for the Regions program, these stubbornly high rates of joblessness would continue.
“While Bill Byrne likes to bask in the success of farm productivity, there was no genuine support for the sector in last week’s budget,” he said.
“In fact, funding for the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has been cut from $438.954 million in 2016-17 to $424.742m in 2017-18 (down $14.212m); while funding for the department’s agricultural services has been slashed by 9 per cent, from $216.252m in 2016-17 to $197.63m.
“This demonstrates Labor and Minister Bill Byrne have no interest in cotton, grains, sugar cane, horticulture, beef, dairy research and development and services.”
Mr Last said when it came to regional infrastructure spending the story was equally grim.
- Toowoomba will receive $200 million less funding for infrastructure;
- Outback Queensland will receive $164 million less funding for infrastructure;
- Fitzroy will receive $35 million less funding for infrastructure; and
- Darling Downs and Maranoa will receive $76 million less funding for infrastructure.
“Regional Queensland simply isn’t getting the funding it deserves to build the roads, bridges and dams that are needed,” Mr Last said.
“A Tim Nicholls-led LNP government would re-introduce a ramped up $500 million Royalties for the Regions Fund, would create jobs across Queensland and better manage the state’s finances.
“We’ll deliver better government, not more government.”