Bread and games in this election year

Bread and games in an election year

Agribusiness
Maybe right now the Queensland government is deciding between securing the Olympics and securing water.

Maybe right now the Queensland government is deciding between securing the Olympics and securing water.

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The choices made this year by growers and the government will set the trajectory for the future of our state and our horticulture industry.

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Since Ancient Rome the prescription for keeping the public happy has been to supply both bread and games. But what if you had to choose one or the other? Would it be bread? Or games?

Choices are important. Stacked up on top of one another, many small choices together end up having enormous impact. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of change in the world is won inch by inch and not with one big bang.

There are many choices to be made this year in Queensland. Some small, some big. All are important.

Some Queensland growers will be deciding what to plant. Others whether to plant at all. And some, sadly, whether they should simply sell up.

The Queensland government too is already making big calls ahead of an early State Budget, which precedes an election in October.

Rather than being seen as a boring and technical accounting process, the Budget should be seen first and foremost as a statement on what is important. For us as a state, and as a people.

It's about our priorities and values. Not dollars and dividends.

Senator Pauline Hanson last week raised an interesting and relevant hypothetical. What if we had a choice between funding an Olympic bid in Queensland or more regional water infrastructure?

Given we're currently carting water to keep major regional towns alive, and that major growing regions of Bundaberg and the Granite Belt lack water security for want of a dam that's either safe or under construction, then it's hard to argue with Senator Hanson's preference for investing in more water infrastructure.

There's a chance this is more than a hypothetical choice between bread and games. Maybe right now the Queensland government is deciding between securing the Olympics and securing water.

Taken together, the choices made this year by growers and the government will set the trajectory for the future of our state and our horticulture industry.

Growcom is currently developing our policy platform ahead of the Queensland election in October. An important part of the platform will be about improving our water and food security. As part of this process we welcome ideas from the public and industry. So look us up and let us know what you think. Contact policy and advocacy manager Richard Shannon at rshannon@growcom.com.au.

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