Advancing Rural Queensland

Back in time for dept

Back in time for dept

Tuesday, 21 Jun 2011

Queensland peak farm group AgForce says it is a case of ‘back to the future’ after the state government announced the appointment of two ministers to cover the Department of Environment and Resource Management.

AgForce CEO Robert Walker said it is illogical and inefficient to dedicate two ministers to one department, after the state government announced Sandgate MP Vicky Darling will become Queensland’s environment minister and Finance and Arts Minister Rachel Nolan will take on Natural Resources.

“Earlier this year AgForce’s state council passed a resolution to urge the state government to split the Environment and Natural Resources ‘super department’,” Mr Walker said.

“We have already seen that dual ministries do not work, as it is a case of ‘too many cooks’ and too many difficulties associated with the approvals processes, reports and responses required from multiple ministerial offices.

“The Environment and Natural Resources portfolio covers a myriad of issues that impact agriculture, particularly Reef Regulations, Leasehold Land and most recently Strategic Cropping Land.

“AgForce works hard to make food security a political priority but we can no longer attempt to combine or appease these issues when they continue to be assessed in the same department but through two different ministerial portfolios.”

Mr Walker said if the Premier has recognised the importance of environment and natural resources by providing a dual ministry, then there must be separate departments to allow for standalone assessments and policy development.

 “AgForce has already seen a slowing in some policy delivery timeframes and as we slowly approach a state election the future of food security in Queensland simply cannot afford any further stalling of process or delivery on promised timeframes,” Mr Walker said.

“The Department of Environment and Natural Resource Management has already been without a Director General for more than a month, worsening the difficulties between the department and its ministers.

“Good land management policies that balance environmental conservation with safe and sustainable food and fibre production must be paramount, and AgForce will closely monitor both ministers to ensure they make agriculture a priority in their portfolios.”

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