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Council and community team up to advance agriculture

A new collaboration between Longreach Regional Council and the community is aiming to identify, prioritise and implement actions that grow agricultural outcomes from both new and existing industries in the region.

The Advancing Agriculture Advisory Committee will report to Council four times per year and is a collaboration between community, council, and state government representatives. 

Newly elected Chair of the committee, James Walker, said it was important initially to support and enhance the existing and established industries in the region.

“We need to make sure we hit the ground running when seasons pick back up – but we can also explore new forms of business and economic innovation in our region.” 

Mr Walker said while the industry has traditionally been dominated by livestock, new business models are adding a lot of value to the area and the businesses adopting them.

“I have seen it in my own business and across Australia –.the digital economy is opening some real opportunities for Agribusiness and especially grazing industries. To initially breathe life into these businesses we need to bring everyone together and identify the actions we can implement as a region right now; for long lasting effect.

“With the climate the way it is, this is certainly a time to get businesses organised and ready for opportunities when they present themselves. We’re going to get leading experts in finance, ag tech, diversification and other fields to come out and share their knowledge progressively.

“More importantly we have some incredible stories, talent and ideas to share within our region that we should be extremely proud of – we will be seeking a partnership with all members of the community to explore change.

“Let’s face it – as the people living it, the best ideas will mostly come from within our region.” 

The initiative was initially suggested by Neil Judd, Manager of Rural Economic Development at the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. Mr Judd said the idea is to support new ideas about what agriculture can do for the region.

“There’s a lot of support available to existing industry. What we want to do with this committee is to champion completely new thinking on what can be achieved in our region.”

Council’s Chief Executive Officer, Ian Bodill, said diversifying the region’s economic base is a top priority for Council.

“Our economic development strategy has three action areas – Agriculture, Tourism and Liveability. So we’re committed to supporting each of those, not just their existing capacity but their growth as well.”

Mr Walker said feedback from the community would be important in setting the direction for the committee.

“Our first meeting will be to decide what and when we will be doing things next year, but we’ve already flagged the need to invite people to share their ideas with us in a whole-of-community economic ideas summit early next year. 

“If anyone has a great idea, or story to share, they can start by having a chat with one of our committee members.”

For more information about the Advancing Agriculture Advisory Committee, contact Longreach Regional Council on (07) 4658 4111.

Committee Members
Chair: Mr James Walker – Camden Park Longreach
Deputy Chair: Ms Leanne Kohler – Chief Executive Officer, Desert Channels Queensland
Ms Belinda Rowbotham – Kateroy Station, Longreach
Mr Dick Cribb – Gydia Park, Isisford
Mrs Jan Anfruns – Principal Trade and Investment Officer, Trade and Investment Queensland
Cr Leonie Nunn Deputy Mayor
Cr Trevor Smith
Cr Tony Rayner

Advisory Members
Mr Neil Judd – Manager, Rural Economic Development, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries