By Growcom Manager, Policy & Advocacy Richard Shannon
Many parts of Queensland are still exceptionally dry. This long drought continues for many regions, and would still be making front page news if not for COVID-19.
Meteorologists have recently predicted a wet winter, then a wet spring. Neither has eventuated. So Growers have taken reports of a coming La Nina with some scepticism.
While global pandemics will come and ultimately go, we know drought will visit again, if this one ever leaves us.
So we need to make ready now for the next drought that comes our way, and a changing climate that will present long term challenges to horticulture here in Queensland.
A green spring in Queensland is the policy platform of the horticulture industry for the coming Queensland election, serving as the roadmap to chart our recovery from COVID-19 and to launch ourselves to long term sustainability and profitability.
Importantly, it includes a number of commitments we need the next Queensland Government to take to make our industry more drought and climate resilient.
The Queensland Horticulture Council calls on the next Queensland Government to properly consult with the horticulture industry, in its own right, on all relevant drought policy and program developments. Too often we’re an afterthought.
This includes horticultural representation from local and regional horticulture industry groups on Local Drought Committees.
We also call on the next government to create equity between agricultural sectors by extending the 50% state-based rebate for emergency water infrastructure to those growers of permanent tree and vine crops. And to reduce fixed water supply tariffs levied on growers proportionate to the reduction in their water entitlement, whenever an irrigation area is drought declared.
We also need to be investing to secure our long term viability. Queensland growers are the most weather observant people on earth. We need to be. Many will attest to a shifting of the seasons. Climate not only determines production but also our market opportunities.
So the horticulture industry is calling for $5 million in funding each year for programs that enhance our long-term climate and drought preparedness and resilience.
To learn more about A green spring in Queensland visit the website: www.growcom.com.au/a-green-spring-in-queensland.