As we approach another election for the Queensland government, it's time to start wondering where regional Queensland will be placed and where the priorities will lie.
I'm pleased to see elements invested in by the state government to support regional growth in the food and agriculture sector come to fruition, in particular the $3.3 million provided for the Agtech and Logistics hub in Toowoomba.
The federal government, through International Freight Assistance Mechanism, and the Queensland government, through Trade and Investment Queensland, have lead to the incredible result of three freight flights exporting out of Wellcamp Airport directly into Hong Kong and Singapore. It highlights how the Darling Downs is a key area to drive economic growth long-term, and to speed up the post COVID-19 recovery.
The food and agriculture sector, which are the nuts and bolts of our regional economies, are to be highly commended for their achievements as they continue to excel through not just this pandemic, but also the continuing drought.
When looking at the importance of regional growth, it is time however to closely focus on water. The only way we will continue to grow as a sector and ensure economic stability is through refined and revamped water control, which includes reassessing our water efficiencies, evaporation controls and ensuring the movement of water from reliable to non-reliable areas is completed to deal with the volatility climate change has presented.
Simply put, water will be the element that will make or break economic growth in our regional areas, and while we support the government with their current actions and decision, it is vital we reassess our water situation.
This is not a new story, however despite constant talk, there are no ministers in state government that are driving economic growth for water.
Water is only regulated in our state portfolios, not questioned for its best and highest use. If the government is serious about regional growth the elected government must create a water portfolio, with its goal being to efficiently drive economic growth in regional Queensland, and manage initiatives to ensure the best results of our most limited resource.
An old Lockyer Valley farmer once told me "mud makes money". Never a truer word has been said.
- Food Leaders Australia general manager, Bruce McConnel