The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF), the peak advocacy organization representing the state’s irrigators and intensive agriculture, welcomes the Liberal National Party’s (LNP) plan to build more than $1.3 billion worth of water infrastructure and dams in regional Queensland if elected.
QFF President Stuart Armitage said that farmers and irrigators supported proposals from all parties willing to invest in new water infrastructure, as well as improving and maintaining existing irrigation schemes.
“QFF has always advocated for new infrastructure in the right regions to open up more opportunities for high value agriculture”, said Mr. Armitage.
“For Queensland to continue producing world class food, fibre and foliage, agriculture must have access to reliable and affordable water, particularly in a changing climate. This announcement has the potential to do this.
Critically important to the discussion around current and future water infrastructure is the issue of decreasing water affordability.
“If the new infrastructure is priced at the existing offering, farmers will be locked out. To build this new infrastructure without rectifying the current issue of water affordability, may undermine the intention to ‘help farmers’ access more water, said Mr. Armitage.
“While big ticket items such as new dams are welcomed, it is important that in the process of building new infrastructure we do not forget about the need to upgrade, improve and increase efficiencies in existing irrigation schemes throughout the state.
“The current reviews into the state’s eight Local Management Arrangements (LMA) for irrigation channel schemes have presented significant opportunities with the right investment efficiencies and improvements to drive productivity within the existing schemes,” said Mr. Armitage.
QFF encourages investment into existing infrastructure as well as welcoming the new opportunities today’s LNP water announcement can potentially bring to the state’s irrigators, farmers and the regional communities they support.