Queensland’s agricultural sector closes in on $20 billion mark

Queensland’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry production has now almost reached the record level of $20 billion for the 16/17 financial year.

Acting Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries and Minister for Regional Economic Development Leeanne Enoch said the $19.95 billion figure was 20 percent greater than the average for the past five years.

“The Palaszczuk Government has been committed to support the growth of Queensland’s agricultural industries – because these industries provide jobs and prosperity to the whole state – and importantly to our regional and rural areas,” Ms Enoch said.

“This is despite continuing dry conditions, drought and pest and disease incursions, demonstrating the sector’s resilience.

“The farm gate value is $15.54 billion for primary industry commodities and $4.41 billion for first-stage processing and value-adding, including dairy processing, meat processing, sawmilling and cotton ginning.”

The statistics are contained in the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries’ Annual Report, which was tabled by the Minister in Parliament today.

Ms Enoch said the government remained committed to programs that continued the rise of the agricultural sector.

“The Palaszczuk Government has provided a total of $77.96 million over five years to the Rural Assistance Package,” she said.

“Under this package, Queensland’s sheep and wool industry has seen an increase of 213,000 sheep into the state flock and the generation of 45 full-time jobs in our western communities. This is all at a time of extremely dry weather for much of the state – but shows the determination of the industry to continue to innovate to achieve growth.

“Initiatives such as wild dog exclusion and cluster fencing, the establishment of two Wild Dog Commissioners in western Queensland and the continued weed and pest programs have underpinned improvements in the industry.

“This government has committed $17.5 million over five years to the Drought and Climate Adaption Program (DCAP) which will help producers better manage drought and climate impacts and increase their resilience.

“DCAP is bringing together the best climate scientists, cutting-edge research, government and industry leaders to help producers improve their climate risk management and long-term preparedness strategies which will ultimately benefit the long-term productivity of the agri-business sector.”

Ms Enoch said rural exports were valued at $9.76 billion and during 2016/17, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries hosted two trade missions and 19 overseas delegations promoting agricultural trade and investment opportunities.

“Minister Byrne recently announced a grant program of up to $100,000 in matched funding for Queensland agribusinesses who are export ready, or are currently exporting and wanting to increase their markets,” she said.

“This is part of the $1.3 million, two year Growing Queensland’s Food Exports pilot program announced in the recent Palaszczuk Government state budget.

“I am also expecting to announce before the end of the year the host organisation for Queensland’s inaugural Rural Economies Centre for Excellence – another Palaszczuk Government initiative that puts the continued economic prosperity of rural Queensland front and centre on the agenda,” Ms Enoch said.

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