WHAT YOU WANT: Farmers draw attention to small towns
A GREATER presence in smaller towns and consultation with members of the agricultural industry are some of the demands Southern Downs farmers have made of the council in the lead-up to the election.
Talgai grain and sunflower farmer David Peters said the roads in and out of smaller communities were not up to scratch.
“I think that’s one of the first things they need to focus on is the roads coming in and out of the smaller towns like Allora and Killarney.
“They’re shocking,” Mr Peters said.
“They could really spend a bit more time and effort out here on the rural side of things, because if it’s not Stanthorpe or Warwick we tend to get neglected.”
Mr Peters said if candidates spent more time out in the smaller towns of the Downs they might be more aware of how to better serve the council’s rural communities.
“You can’t completely throw the blame on council, but they could consult with smaller communities a bit better,” he said.
“Agriculture is the biggest industry in our region, so we should all get that care and attention to thrive – if we don’t, neither will business.”
Cut the red tape
Goomburra farmer Randal Breen said he would like to see less red tape blocking farmers from diversification.
“If we want to be able to weather the drought, smaller enterprises, family farms need to have less in the way of diversifying their operation,” he said.
“I suppose scale-appropriate regulation is the thing we’re most passionate about, to see smaller scale operators not assessed as heavily as larger to give us a chance at turning a profit.”
Invasive pest control scheme
Mr Breen said he was most critical of the invasive pest control scheme.
“I think any regulation such as that one is not helpful and wonder why there isn’t more regulation in other aspects of the industry, like heavy chemical use or tillage,” he said.
However, Mr Peters praised the scheme
“I’m definitely an advocate for the scheme. It’s a bit of a pigstick approach, but if they don’t enforce it people will be reluctant to be part of it and it needs to be done,” he said.
Mr Peters said while he would like to see more of a council presence in the region, it had done a fantastic job at allocating a drought liaison officer.
Look to the future of farming
When he goes to the ballot, Mr Peters said candidates who took a region-wide approach would have his vote.
“When I go to vote, I will be looking for someone with a balanced view for the whole region, who understands the importance of the future of farming,” he said.
“For us, we’ll be looking at how the council can make the region attractive to young farming families like ours,” Mr Breen said.
“The agriculture industry is an ageing population and that needs to be addressed