What will election mean to agriculture

By Bree Grima

As we edge closer to 21 May when Australia goes to the polls, we see increased activity from our leaders and election promises.

Our local candidates for Hinkler and Flynn have also been busy connecting with community groups to meet, greet and discuss key priorities.

Last Friday BFVG held an agriculture focussed Meet the Candidates session which was attended by Hinkler MP Keith Pitt, United Australia Party candidate Kristy Nash, One Nation candidate Zak Menhennett, Queensland Greens candidate Andrew McLean and independent candidate Jack Dempsey.

Flynn electorate candidate Colin Boyce also participated.

Unfortunately, there was limited correspondence received from the Labor candidate Jason Scanes who didn’t attend and other Flynn candidates who didn’t make it a priority.

Discussion topics for the session included each candidate’s position on a dedicated agricultural visa and how they planned to address the worker shortage for the sector.

Labor has announced it won’t be supporting the visa which is already in place and instead will support an already working program, the Pacific Australia labour mobility scheme.

Our concerns here are that this alone won’t be enough.

Industry advocated for and contributed to the design of the ag visa and to have all that work thrown out the door will further damage and restrict an already struggling sector.

Additionally, Australia’s fuel reserves and soaring input costs for agriculture were also discussed.

Without a sustainable long-term future for our sector, we will continue to be reactive to our environment rather than proactively working towards a sustainable future for this and future generations.

We look forward to continuing to share our concerns with those that may be our decision makers in coming weeks and sincerely thank the candidates for their participation in our lively discussion last week.