Agriculture here for the long haul

AGRICULTURE will pick up where mining left off if Queensland's coal industry can not recover from this week's budget blow says AgForce President Brent Finlay.

Speaking to reporters in Brisbane Mr Finlay said AgForce did not expect any major budget annoucements because of the "current fiscal situation the state finds itself in" but stressed industry leaders would not be so understanding next time around.

He said agriculture, one of Premier Campbell Newman's "four pillars", was a long term business, one which would still be profitable "long after coal is gone".

While he welcomed the State Government's commitment to develop a 30-year-plan for the industry, Mr Finlay said immediate attention needed to be drawn to the state's regional road and rail network.

He said farmers would "like the opportunity" to prove they were just as vital to the economy as mining but had been "starved" of decent infrastructure for more than 20 years.

He was particularly concerned about the defunct rail corridor which could no longer be relied upon to transport cattle from the states south-west.

"We are the essential industry - we will still be here after coal is gone," Mr Finlay said

"In future budgets we expect to see substantial funding."

Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig condemned the Newman Government's plans to shed more than 400 staff from the agricultural work force and said the release of Tuesday's budget was a "sad day for Queensland".


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