By Growcom CEO Stephen Barnard

They say a day is a long time in politics. Four years then seems like an eternity. But, inevitably, we’ll be back at the polls in 2024 wondering where the years went.

The risk for both the returned Palaszczuk Government and the Queensland horticulture industry is that we don’t make best use of this time.

This next four years will be a time of immense change. But amongst all the change and challenges lies opportunity too.

The change will come in many forms. There will be ongoing issues related to the impact of COVID-19 and the costs to industry imposed by securing human health.

We can expect labour will remain difficult to find. Our pathways to overseas markets will remain constrained, with airfreight prohibitively expensive with no passengers to offset the cost.

We can reasonably expect our climate to keep changing too. With this will come drought, occasional disaster, and continued pressure on the suitability of varieties.  

And who could rule out another biosecurity event in the meantime? With Fall Armyworm heavily impacting our growing regions right now, only kept off the front page by a human health emergency.

Consumer preferences will continue to evolve, and new expectations about our stewardship of the environment may well be set.  

The opportunity then is responding to each of these changes well, and better than everyone else.

Here in Queensland we’re perhaps better practiced than anyone else in coming together in a crisis. The response to COVID-19 from the agriculture sector, and horticulture in particular, has been impressive.

We will look to the Queensland Government for strong leadership and to our Agriculture Minister to advocate passionately on our behalf.

Together with Growcom and the rest of our industry the next four years present an opportunity for the Palaszczuk Government to create a legacy as having set horticulture up for the future.