What you need to know about the $1.2bn upgrade to the grassland equipment facility in Queensland
Lachlan Mark, chief executive of the Australian Grassland Council, said it would be “inevitable” that the upgraded facility would have to be shut down.
“I think the grasslands have been left behind,” he said.
“The fact that the Government is looking at a $1bn upgrade that would see the facility closed down for a couple of years is just ridiculous.”
This is a very important infrastructure asset that needs to be maintained.
“It’s just an absolute waste of taxpayer money and a major issue for the industry.”
Mr Mark said the project was part of a broader plan to modernise the state’s agriculture sector and improve the viability of the region.
“There are some issues we have with the infrastructure, particularly for the agriculture sector, but that’s the fact of the matter,” he told AAP.
“It’s about the long-term sustainability of the industry, of the environment, and it’s not about the short-term profit for the Government.”
A key concern for the council was that the facility could become a breeding ground for invasive species.
“We’ve seen a number of the native species that have come into Queensland and have come to Queensland from outside the state, such as the Asian goldfinch,” he added.
“Those are just a couple that we’ve seen that have invaded Queensland, and the issue is the species are so invasive they are causing problems with other native species in the grass, the plants.”
Mr Mearns said the council supported the Government’s plan to upgrade the facility.
“This will enable the Queensland Government to do the right thing by the Queensland grasslands and to upgrade it,” he says.
“For example, the Queensland Department of Primary Industries has a commitment that it will spend $2 billion to improve the infrastructure of the state grasslands.”
The project will cost $1,300 per hectare, or $6,300 to $9,300 for a two-acre parcel.
Mr Mark also called for an increased focus on the use of renewable energy.
“Renewable energy is a big thing in Queensland, but it’s really important to have the right policies,” he explains.
“You have to have an infrastructure that can support the renewables industry, but also that’s a policy that supports our farmers.”
He also urged the Government to reconsider the project if the council’s concerns about the project were not addressed.