Joint Media Release
Agriculture White Paper delivers for Queensland producers
9 July 2015
Measures in the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper will benefit Queensland producers according to the Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, and Member for Dawson, George Christensen.
Minister Joyce met with sugar producers on a visit to the Mackay region and had a strong message for them.
“The Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper contains tangible measures to help producers like you—I was determined from the outset that the policy initiatives in it needed to make a difference in the real world,” Minister Joyce said.
“I know, from listening to my colleagues like George, that the sugar industry has its share of challenges in ensuring appropriate transparency in supply chains and in developing the water infrastructure to support the industry in the longer term.
“There’s $11.4 million the White Paper commits to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to establish an agriculturally dedicated Commissioner and an Agricultural Enforcement and Engagement Unit to address supply chain issues—like farmer vulnerabilities when bargaining with large processors or retail chains.
“The White Paper has also set aside $500 million for water infrastructure projects.
“Of that, $50 million will be used for good planning to ensure that projects are viable and in the best interests of farmers and the community.”
Mr Christensen MP said he welcomed the investment into water infrastructure planning and he would be seeking consideration of the Urannah Dam project.
“The Urannah Dam project has been repeatedly identified as a high priority environmentally feasible catchment site,” Mr Christensen said.
“It would open up 30,000 hectares of new cropping land with the potential to generate more than $323 million over 25 years, and I am keen to see this project get the consideration it deserves.
“There are a host of measures in the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper which will enable farmers to reinvest in their farms, rather than paying more money to the tax man, and I am also very pleased to see the establishment of a $2.5 billion concessional loan facility – that will both assist farmers and provide competition to the commercial banks.
“These measures, as well as the $100 million for pest and weed management and eradication, will deliver real benefits to the farmers who make such an important contribution to our nation’s economy and way of life.”
The White Paper was informed by comprehensive stakeholder consultation—more than 1000 submissions were received and the government talked face-to-face with more than 1100 people across the country in developing the document.
The White Paper is available at agwhitepaper.agriculture.gov.au.