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    Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
    The Honourable John McVeigh

    Land audit shows strong agricultural growth

    Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
    The Honourable John McVeigh

    Wednesday, May 22, 2013

    Land audit shows strong agricultural growth

    Queensland’s niche market opportunities, unique climatic areas and production diversity will continue to drive the State’s strong future growth, according to the Queensland Agricultural Land Audit released last night.

    Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister John McVeigh said the audit showed the Newman Government was right to make agriculture one of the four pillars of the economy.

    “Queensland has the highest percentage of land area being used for agriculture (83 per cent of State area) compared with other Australian States,” Mr McVeigh said.

    “The State’s agricultural industries have grown and evolved as markets, infrastructure and services have evolved and this will continue well into the future.”

    Mr McVeigh said to achieve the goal of doubling Queensland food production by 2040, we needed to identify the best land and how to develop it.

    “The audit identifies land that is important to current and future agricultural production throughout the State,” he said.

    “It is a key reference tool that will help guide investment in the agricultural sector and inform decision making to ensure the best use of our agricultural land in the future.

    “The audit is an initiative that supports the Government’s vision for a bigger, stronger and more productive agricultural sector as one of the four pillars of the Queensland economy.”

    Mr McVeigh said the audit covered the State’s 12 regions, based on planning boundaries, and assessed the opportunities and constraints, including current land use, infrastructure or logistical issues and planning processes.

    Some highlights from the Audit include:

    • The gross value of production for agriculture, fisheries and forestry in Queensland was $11.2 billion in 2010–11, which represented 21 per cent of Australia’s total gross value of production.
    • In 2010–11 Queensland exported $6.3 billion worth of agriculture and food products.
    • Queensland’s largest agricultural commodities by value are beef cattle (worth $3.4 billion in 2010–11), fruit and vegetables ($1.9 billion), sugarcane ($910.3 million), cotton ($776.1 million), wheat ($378.4 million) and poultry ($395.5 million).
    • Queensland’s seasons occur slightly different to the rest of Australia, which enables it to send produce south to complement southern supplies, thus creating niche markets.
    • Queensland’s unique climatic areas, diverse production locations, well-acclimatised varieties and production methods result in good yields and high-quality products.

    Mr McVeigh said decision makers did not previously have a single reference document on which to be informed.

    “The audit will provide a range of useful information to help investors and to guide regional and local planning in the State,” he said.

    “It has been more than 30 years since an equivalent study of this nature has been undertaken and during that time significant changes have occurred.

    “Over the years there has been increasing pressure on farmers to consolidate and innovate in the face of declining terms of trade and increasing mechanisation of farming systems.

    “The population has more than doubled and become increasingly urbanised.

    “Additionally, demand for non-agricultural land use such as housing, infrastructure, mining, energy, recreational uses and conservation has, and will continue to grow.

    “The challenge ahead is to balance the demands on agricultural land resulting from those changes while adapting and planning for future needs.”

    Mr McVeigh said the audit preceded the Queensland Agriculture Strategy that would be released shortly.

    “The strategy will include a range of initiatives across government that will assist in growing agriculture, fisheries and forestry and delivering on the commitment to double food production,” he said.

    “The strategy will provide a clear vision for the sector and a strategic framework for growth based on key pathways.”

    Download your copy of the Queensland Agricultural Land Audit at www.daff.qld.gov.au

    [ENDS] 22 May 2013

    Media Contact: Louise Gillis – 0408 709 160