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Queensland lobby groups cautiously welcome coalition's agriculture policy

Miriam Hall, Thursday August 29, 2013 - 15:38 EST
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Farmers have been urged to demand politicians debate the future of agriculture in Australia - ABC

Queensland Farmers Federation and Agforce Queensland have welcomed the coalition's agriculture policy, but say regional Australia has still been forgotten in the Federal election campaign.

The coalition says, if elected, it will spend 147 million dollars on research and development, agricultural education and biosecurity.

Nationals MP and Coalition agriculture spokesman John Cobb announced the policy's biggest ticket item yesterday: $100 million for research and development.

Queensland Farmers Federation CEO Dan Galligan says, until now, agricultural issues have been ignored.

"It's disappointing they seem to get the focus very late in the campaign."

"We're not getting the attention the sector deserves. But at least we've seen, over the last 24 hours, a real rush to try and talk about agricultural issues."

He says the Queensland Farmers Federation will need to work closely with whichever party is in government.

"I'm really disappointed we haven't seen anything from the Labor party, they seem to be resting on the policies they've been following over the last couple of terms."

The general manager of policy at Agforce Lauren Hewitt says the promise of money is very welcome.

"Certainly that 100 million is the key issue to come out, or the key commitment that either of the parties has put out on the rural industries to date."

"That additional money going to rural development corps is pretty important."

"Since the 1970s there hasn't been that investment there, so we're very happy with that announcement."

However, Ms Hewitt says there are major gaps in the campaign, when it comes to rural Australia.

"When I talk to people out at the moment, their number one issue is cost and profitability."

"Most of the state unfortunately in Queensland, is in drought declaration at the moment and we are for the first time in a drought situation without a drought support assistance package. And for people to be in that situation at the moment, that's a pretty cruel situation to be in and at the whim of a government who still hasn't announced any policy platform on that."


© ABC 2013

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