Sunday, December 18, 2011

Plains of Promise

The latest proposal to develop agriculture in North Queensland was announced this week. Bob Katter is reported to be delighted but sceptical at the same time.

The Gillard and Bligh Governments will invest $10 million in an historic plan that marks a significant step forward in realising the potential of new irrigated agriculture in the Flinders and Gilbert catchments in north Queensland.
Federal Minister for Regional Australia Simon Crean joined Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and Queensland Minister for Agriculture Tim Mulherin in Richmond to announce the North Queensland Irrigated Agriculture Strategy (NQIAS).
The $10 million investment includes:
  • $6.8 million from the Federal Government, (including $800,000 from CSIRO), for CSIRO to conduct a comprehensive assessment of surface water storage options in the Flinders and Gilbert River catchments, and identify new irrigated agriculture techniques that could be extended right across northern Australia;
  • $3 million from the Queensland Government to undertake on-farm demonstration projects and systems analysis to develop practical farming approaches; and
  • $200,000 in shared funding for a feasibility study to develop a meat processing facility in north Queensland.
Indonesia this week also announced big cuts in live cattle exports from Australia perhaps contributing to the push fopr meat processing. Australian Agricultural are also developing an abbottoir near Darwin as well as a proposal for a boutique abbottoir near Broome.  

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