In October the Queensland Horticulture Council (QHC) held its annual forum which brought together representatives from each of the major horticulture growing regions across Queensland.

Led by QHC Chair Joe Moro the group tackled our industry’s hot-button issues including water, energy and waste, Great Barrier Reef regulations, and fair business practices.

With many of the regions represented on the Council currently witnessing some of the worst drought conditions in recorded history, drought policy in particular was a top priority for discussion.

Special guest David Littleproud, Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management, opened the day’s proceedings and fielded questions from the Council on the Future Drought Fund and water infrastructure support for horticulture at both a region and farm level.

Executive Director of Rural Economic Development at Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Elton Miller then led a discussion on the State Government’s response to the recent Drought Program Review.

Also presenting were representatives from the Queensland Government Office of the Great Barrier Reef, who provided an overview of new regulations impacting horticulture that are designed to improve the quality of water flowing into the Reef.

And Cynthia Tupicoff, Assistant Director at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), explained their compliance priorities, successful enforcement of unfair contract terms, and new collective bargaining provisions.

Other key speakers included Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) Deputy CEO Georgina Davis who updated members on energy, water and waste policy relevant to horticulture, and Michael Quinn, State Manager of the Australian Government Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, who outlined workforce programs available to assist growers in finding workers.

On behalf of the QHC, Growcom would like to thank all attendees, guests and members alike, for doing their part in bridging the gap between government and industry to ensure the needs of horticulture are addressed.

The QHC came away reinvigorated and with a range of actions to improve the formulation of government policies and programs and ensure the priorities of growers are not just heard but met.