The Queensland Greens believe that:
1. Agriculture is a vital part of Queensland’s economy and cultural history.
2. Farmers should be celebrated, supported and rewarded for the role they play in producing our food and managing our natural resources.
3. Rural communities are a vital part of our society and we must ensure they have a viable future and are supported socially and economically through transformational change as a result of changing climatic conditions.
4. The long-term viability of agriculture depends on the increased adoption of ecologically sustainable agriculture.
5. Good quality agricultural land is an important resource which must be retained for sustainable productive use.
6. Supporting the continuous development of the skills and knowledge of farmers and primary producers is vital for achieving more sustainable production and land management.
7. Animal production systems must respect the sentient nature of animals and maximise their quality of life.
8. The introduction of ecologically invasive plants, animals and diseases must be prevented.
9. Genetically engineered organisms and their products must be thoroughly tested before their introduction and use in Queensland.
10. Global food security is increasingly becoming an issue and represents both opportunities and threats to agriculture in Queensland.
The Queensland Greens will:
1. Through the departments responsible for Primary Industry, Forestry, Fisheries, Natural Resources, Water, Local Government, Health, Education, Employment, Economic Development, Climate Change and the Environment, and working with stakeholders and industry, develop an integrated forty year Sustainable Food and Agriculture Strategy including:
a) The establishment of a $35 million fund to provide capital investment assistance for farmers and primary producers to adopt ecologically sustainable farming systems. This will provide grants of up to $50,000 per business to develop, purchase or install approved systems or technologies which are supported by a strong evidence base.
b) The institution of ecologically sustainable Land and Water Management Plans that include of all land uses (cropping, forestry, wetlands, biodiversity corridors, irrigation systems, mining and urban and industrial development) within the regional and state planning frameworks. This will include local scale mapping of quality agricultural land.
c) Maintenance of the role of Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service with ongoing funding for the management of plant and animal pests. This will include options for contracting pest management to neighbouring landholders or community groups.
d) The introduction of legislation to prevent the introduction of ecologically invasive plants, animals and diseases and incompletely tested genetically engineered organisms and their products.
e) Ongoing funding for user education and compliance monitoring and the strengthening of regulations and codes in the use of agricultural chemicals (such as pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers).
f) The identification of emerging international markets and support in responding to the trade opportunities these offer.
g) An assessment of future workforce requirements and a funded plan to respond to these requirements. This may include increasing traineeships and apprenticeships in the areas of agriculture and primary production and working with secondary schools, TAFEs and universities to promote agricultural sciences and biosecurity as career options. It may also include working with universities and TAFE to ensure that curricula are sufficiently broad such that graduates have a thorough understanding of all disciplines (such as genetics, molecular science, pathology and economics) necessary to work effectively in primary production.
h) An increase in funding of $30 million for research and development in agriculture and primary production. This funding will be administered through the department responsible for Primary Industries and will offer research grants of up to $100,000 per project. Areas of focus will include:
ii) Increasing production whilst maintaining ecological sustainability
iii) Improving profitability for farmers and primary producers
iv) Cleaner and renewable energy sources
v) Climate change adaptation, including the impacts that climate change may have on biosecurity and pest management
2. Retain the Strategic Cropping Land Act 2011 which established the primacy of quality agricultural land over other uses and to protect it from alienation (by mining, urban and industrial development).
3. Work with local governments to facilitate local trade and marketing initiatives, such as farmers’ markets, which enhance connectivity between rural and urban communities and drive demand for local, sustainably produced produce.
4. Work with local governments to identify and facilitate opportunities for permaculture in areas where demand exists.
5. Link eligibility for subsidies to ecologically sound land management practices to further incentivise the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices and technologies.
6. Support the Federal Government’s incentives for carbon sequestering and provide advice to farmers on alternative income streams under the scheme such as earning carbon credits from revegetation of marginal land, reducing emissions.
7. Work with the Federal Government and the State Government department with responsibility for climate change to effectively manage climate change adaption in agriculture. This could include compensation where agriculture becomes unviable and education and re-training to facilitate a transition to other industries.