Ag policy lacking in Queensland race

17th November 2017 9:57 AM
Sugar cane harvesting at Gregory River near Proserpine. Sugar cane harvesting at Gregory River near Proserpine. Peter Carruthers

CANEGROWERS chairman Paul Schembri is "disappointed” by a lack of agricultural policy announcements in the lead-up to the November 25 Queensland election.

More specifically, Mr Schembri said both the major parties are yet to make any commitment to the Smartcane BMP program.

Historically, the LNP had been supportive of the program, which is a set of standards designed to maximise productivity, profitability and sustainability.

Labor has continued to fund the BMP program but midway through 2018 the funding will dry up.

Mr Schembri said if elected he "would think' the LNP would continue the Smartcane BMP program.

"But I have not heard anything definitive,” he said.

In general, Mr Schembri admitted it has been difficult for the agricultural sector to extract spending commitments ahead of the election.

"We are almost halfway through the election and to our way of thinking there has been some announcements about agriculture but not a lot,” he said.

"It hasn't been the highest priority of government.”

LNP agriculture spokesman and Burdekin MP Dale Last responded by saying his party "is fully committed to supporting Smartcane program” and Queensland's 4000 cane growers.