The Future Economic & Environmental Sustainability of Region’s Agriculture Industry Commands Spotlight
Cairns, QLD, Australia – (News4us.com) September 17, 2012
The chairman of the Far North Queensland and Torres Strait chapter of Regional Development (RDA FNQ&TS), Dr Allan Dale will launch the organisation’s Agricultural Futures package in Cairns this evening.
The launch will occur during the welcome reception, that heralds the start of Economic Development Australia and New Zealand’s two day conference at The Sebel Cairns.
Dr Dale said he could not think of a better audience in Australia and New Zealand’s leading economic development practitioners to launch what is a significant component of the organisation’s regional roadmap.
Dr Dale commented that progress on implementing the Agricultural Futures package was already progressing.
He also said that recent funding allocations as announced last week in the Newman Government’s first budget presented opportunities. The package will be used to negotiate both Commonwealth and State government investment into the region.
The package’s progress will be monitored and reported three months post launch and thereafter, every six months over the coming two years.
The RDA FNQ&TS will be supporting the region to secure a portion of the allocated $3.4 million budget towards pest and weed control, improving water quality and sustainable agriculture.
It will also work with the Queensland government to leverage the $3 million allocated to research and development in establishing irrigated agronomy including the Flinders and Gilbert River catchments.
Both the control of pest and weeds and support for existing or ‘in progress’ agricultural precincts, such as the Gilbert River irrigation scheme are identified in the Agricultural Futures package.
He added, that the budget announcement of $7.6 million allocated for research and development, aligns well with the region’s desire for a cooperative research approach and that in addition to a share of this funding, the RDA FNQ&TS will also work to ensure a portion of the $3.5 million in workforce planning and training is allocated to driving agricultural industry in the FNQ&TS region.
“Agriculture is a major, stable pillar in our regional economy with significant potential for growth.
“Our agricultural foundations buffered us from economic instability during the Global Financial Crisis and its importance is set to increase, particularly with growing markets and investment interest from South East Asia,” he said.
Dr Dale said the official launch of the Agricultural Futures package is the culmination of eight months hard work by representatives from local, state and Commonwealth government agencies, primary producer groups and agricultural and regional development organisations.
Other key elements of the Agricultural Futures package include progressing the concept of a major projects coordination mechanism in parallel with a regulatory reform project, rethinking the current financing options in order to reduce farm debt ratios, securing regional meat processing capacity and working with industry to identify new high-value foreign investment opportunities.
For more information about Regional Development Australia, please visit the official website – http://www.rdafnqts.org.au
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