By Growcom Interim CEO, Pat Hannan
Later this week the Queensland Horticulture Council will be officially launching its policy platform ahead of the Queensland election at the end of October.
Entitled A green spring in Queensland, the platform provides a roadmap developed by the horticulture industry to chart our own recovery from COVID-19.
More than this, it is also the launch pad from which we will propel ourselves to even greater long term sustainability and profitability.
The upcoming Queensland election is going to be an important one for the horticulture industry.
We’ve still got plenty of work to do in terms of getting through the worst impacts of COVID-19, including a shortage of labour that is already impacting growers.
The Minister for Agriculture Mark Furner revealed last week modelling conducted by the Department of Agriculture has shown horticulture will be short between 6,000 and 7,000 workers from now until the end of the year.
This shortage obviously presents an enormous challenge for growers and the rest of the fresh produce supply chain.
But we will come out the other side. And decisions taken by the next Queensland Government in the first part of its term will have an enormous impact on the trajectory of our recovery.
We believe it’s critical these decisions taken by the next Government are informed by the needs and unique perspectives of the people who live and breathe horticulture in this state every day.
That’s why a core commitment the Council asks of the next Government is to convene a summit of leaders in Queensland horticulture to set a new vision for our industry within the first 100 days of the election.
We are also calling for a dedicated industry strategy with a set of actions, accountabilities and resources to ensure we arrive at our vision, with an industry-led group to oversee its implementation and evaluation.
A green spring in Queensland also includes requests for the next Queensland Government to commit to improved water and energy affordability, and to investments in drought and climate initiatives, sustainability, innovation, skills and training, biosecurity, transport, and export market development.
We have asked all major political parties in Queensland to consider endorsing A green spring in Queensland in full and are awaiting their responses. More detail from the platform on specific commitments will be shared with voters in this column over the coming weeks.