By Growcom CEO David Thomson
In the lead-up to the Federal Election, Peak representative body for Queensland horticulture, Growcom has launched its 10-point priority list for supporting the fruit, vegetable and nut industries.
With the endorsement of the Queensland Horticulture Council, our priority list feeds into the advocacy and policy framework of the National Farmers’ Federation’s (NFF) vision of a $100 billion agricultural industry by 2030.
Growcom encourages all sides of politics to commit to:
- The introduction of a dedicated agriculture visa to ensure we have enough workers to grow and harvest our produce.
- Continued support for Growcom’sFair Farms program which aims to ensure all workers in the fresh produce supply chain are treated fairly.
- Placing a higher priority on horticulture produce in trade negotiations.
- Reducing national greenhouse gas emissions and helping growers adapt to climate change and build resilience to natural disasters.
- Reducing electricity costs for farm businesses and increasing access to renewable energy options.
- Maintaining support for levies that underpin the industry’s capacity to invest in research, development and innovation.
- Supporting growers to navigate their innovation opportunities and invest in the right ag-tech.
- Boosting investment in biosecurity measures for plant industries.
- Investing in research and extension that helps growers improve their environmental sustainability.
- Encouraging all Aussies to eat more fruit, vegetables and nuts to improve their health and happiness.
Given one third of Australian horticulture is produced in Queensland, politicians cannot afford to overlook these issues that will support the continued growth and development of the industry in the years ahead.
Ensuring Australia has a thriving and prosperous horticultural industry is of critical importance to the entire country – not just to the regional communities that rely on agriculture to survive, but to all Australians who want high-quality, nutritious food to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Horticulture is Queensland’s second biggest and fastest growing agricultural industry which contributed more than $3 billion towards the state’s economy in 2018/19. There are major opportunities to invest in job creation with value-added benefits to increase income for growers.
No matter the result of the upcoming Election, we are committed to working with government to help our industry reach its full potential by improving the competitive environment for all horticultural businesses.