Australian growers are backing Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's election promise of half-price water to grow the state’s horticulture industry.
Growcom chief executive officer Stephen Barnard said it was pleasing to see a focus on expanding the production of fruits, vegetables and nuts, ‘particularly given the enormous number of jobs the sector created in rural and regional Queensland’.
"We are excited by the commitment from a returned Palaszczuk government of a 50 per cent cut to the price of water over three years where fruits, vegetables and nuts are being produced," Barnard said. "This commitment will come as welcome relief to some growers, and for many more it will create a great deal of optimism. For the first time in a long while growers on irrigation schemes will be considering expanding their operations. Jobs will be created, and new wealth injected into rural towns and regional centers. This is just what the Queensland economy needs to recovery from a COVID-19 recession."
Barnard said in addition to cheaper water, the industry needed in a secure supply of skilled and willing workers and confidence in securing a decent price for produce. Queenslandcountrylife.com.au quoted him as saying: "This means expanding our export markets. More produce arriving in domestic markets will only push prices down for everyone. This is a complex industry with many moving parts. As we advocated ahead of the election, Queensland horticulture urgently needs a strategic plan to ensure all our efforts are aligned and that we have all the right resources in place. Growcom looks forward to working with Premier Palaszczuk and her returned government on creating ambitious and bright vision for the future of our $3 billion industry."