Senator Matthew Canavan, Bridie Luva, Candidate for Rockhampton, and Member for Keppel Bruce Young have called on the Northern Australian Taskforce to heed the recent Parliamentary Committee’s recommendation to include Central Queensland University in future agricultural research initiatives.
“CQUniversity is one of the best agricultural universities in the country. Any northern agricultural CRC without CQUniversity would be like a rowboat with oars on only one side of the boat: it will go round in circles.
“The Fitzroy catchment has enormous food growing potential with massive water resources and great soils. It is already an agricultural powerhouse but can go to the next level with more investment in dams and irrigation.”
Representatives from the Prime Minister’s Taskforce were at CQUniversity and Senator Matthew Canavan and Bridie Luva both stressed the need not to forget Central Queensland in the northern Australia plan.
“CQ is the gateway to North Queensland and Rockhampton can’t be ignored,” Bridie Luva said.
“Job creation is one of my top priorities in Central Queensland and we need new investment to create jobs. Investment in a Fitzroy Agricultural Corridor is the kind of thing central Queensland needs to spur development and create jobs.”
Member for Keppel Bruce Young said the Northern Australia Plan needs to be altered to include the Fitzroy Basin.
Mr Young said the Fitzroy Basin has a long history of cattle, food and fibre production.
“The Northern Australian Plan has merit but consideration needs to be given to the environmental / seasonal constraints. As many people would be aware, mustering only takes place up north for only six months of the year.” Mr Young said. “North Australia only has two seasons – wet and dry.”
“The beauty of Rockhampton being the centre is because we have our road corridor infrastructure in place, there is scope for more development in the pipeline for dams throughout the Fitzroy basin and we have two ports and an international airport within our region.
“The Central Queensland University needs to be a part of the Northern Australian Plan, understanding its proximity to the Fitzroy basin.
Recommendation 14 of the Joint Parliamentary Committee stated that:
The Committee recommends that the Australian Government support the creation of a Co-operative Research Centre for Northern Agriculture. All three universities substantially based in Northern Australia should be involved in the CRC.
James Cook University and Charles Darwin University are already full partners in the AgNorth CRC process. CQUniversity should be too.
Central Queensland is already a substantial producer of agricultural products. Central Queensland has more cattle than the northern Territory and produces a range of other crops like cotton, wheat, pineapples, citrus and other horticultural products.