QUEENSLAND’S peak farming body has listed water security, energy and workforce shortages among the priorities it wants to see the incoming Albanese Labor government and new agriculture minister address.

Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) CEO Jo Sheppard said QFF would be seeking early engagement with the yet-to-be-appointed agriculture minister, to highlight the importance of agriculture to the success of rural and regional Queensland.

“Top of the list is future security, reliability and affordability of water and energy,” Ms Sheppard said.

“We hope there’ll be a renewed focus on working with industry to address workforce pressures, including the housing shortages.

“The results of the election sends a strong message that, more broadly, the Australian community is seeking change.”

Tasmanian Labor MP Julie Collins had served as shadow agriculture minister and while she was reelected at the weekend’s federal election, there’s no guarantee she will continue in the role.

Former opposition leader Bill Shorten is reportedly in the mix for the position. The minister is expected to be appointed following Mr Albanese’s visit to Tokyo for the Quad Summit.

Australia’s peak farming body, the National Farmers Federation, told the Caller it would have more to say on the issue once the new cabinet was finalised.

Farmers for Climate Action CEO Fiona Davis. IMAGE: Supplied

Farmers for Climate Action CEO Fiona Davis said the country, suburbs and city united to vote for stronger climate policy and that she hoped all politicians would listen.

“Australian voters have backed deeper emission reductions this decade, which we need to protect the farmers who grow our food,” Ms Davis said.

“Strong climate policy can reduce the cost of living in the country and the city by cutting electricity bills and transport costs.

“We need deep emissions reductions this decade to protect Australian farmers from extreme weather events caused by climate change, and ensure we are able to continue to produce food for Australia and the world.

“Australian farmers have shown that agriculture is ready and able to lead.

“With the right policy support, Australian agriculture can be carbon neutral well before 2050, but emissions reductions are needed across all sectors of the economy. Other sectors need to play their part and rapidly reduce emissions.

“If we act quickly, there are huge economic opportunities for farmers and regional Australians. Let’s not miss the opportunity to create secure, resilient jobs and livelihoods for farmers and regional Australians.”

GPA chair and WA grain producer Barry Large during a recent visit to Canberra. IMAGE: GPA

Grain Producers Australia (GPA) said the change of government presented an opportunity to engage constructively in renewed discussions on key policy priorities for the Australian grains industry

“When last in government, Labor delivered some important policy reforms for the grains sector and we now anticipate the opportunity, as indicated during the campaign, to discuss how we can collaborate and help solve today’s issues,” GPA chair Barry Large said.

“GPA also acknowledges the significant influence of independents and minor parties at this election. We also look forward to engaging with them more and discussing our issues, as part of our ongoing work advocating for growers and our communities,” Mr Large said.

Agforce Grains president Brendan Taylor also said he was waiting to see who the new agriculture minister will be, but that Agforce was ready to work with the government of the day and continue advocating for farming communities.

“There are some policies which come with a green agenda which might not be as favourable for us – but that’s our job to bat hard to make sure the voices of the regions are heard loud and clear,” Mr Taylor said.

He said addressing labour shortages still crippling the agricultural sector should be a key priority for whoever takes over the portfolio.

“Probably the story of the election really is that both major parties have lost primary votes – so the people have sent a message they weren’t happy with what was going on.

“There’s a lot of talk about politicians getting back to their grassroots, of the constituents they represent, maybe there’s a message in that for everyone.”

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