The ABARES Bundaberg Regional Outlook conference today at The Waves has heard an upbeat economic forecast for local agriculture.
The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) is the research arm of the Australian Government's Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.
ABARES provides professional independent research and analysis to inform public and private decision making, underpinned by authoritative economic and scientific data and analysis, and multidisciplinary research.
At the Bundaberg event, delegates are hearing from local and industry speakers on a range of issues including the latest commodity data and economic analysis, climate and weather trends, water resource management and farm performance.
ABARES acting executive director Peter Gooday spoke about Australia’s stretch target for agriculture to be a $100 billion industry by 2030, which he said was currently on target for $88 billion.
“The Bundaberg Region could play a big role in meeting Australia’s stretch target,” Mr Gooday said.
He showed data that growth in China and India will drive agricultural exports from the Bundaberg Region.
Mayor Jack Dempsey said the positive outlook reinforced Council's strategy to support development in the agricultural sector.
“Infrastructure such as upgrading the airport as a freight hub would help our region export more to Asia and be more competitive,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“Of course structural reform and trade wars with China will be a risk for Australia.
“An increase in larger farms, as seen in the Bundaberg Region, means we need to think about how we improve farm productivity for larger operations.”
Queensland weather services manager for the Bureau of Meteorology, Richard Wardle, said extreme weather and failure to adapt to climate change were significant risks.
In the Bundaberg Region he said water supply could become more scarce.
A range of other issues were discussed including:
- Commodity prices outlook
- Cattle leases and changes to legislation
- Issues affecting the sugarcane industry
- Update on water pricing markets and possible impacts
- Challenges facing the Central Queensland beef industry
The Bundaberg event drew 150 people from across Queensland.