Excessive government charges reduce farmer investment in risk management.
With approximately 50% of the Queensland land area comprised of agricultural leases, thousands of producers are trapped effectively as ‘serfs’ of the state without the ability to own their properties -spending their hard-earned income on paying the state’s ever-increasing rents.
Without reform to the Land Act 1994 and collaborative discussions with native title holders, this antiquated system will continue.
Unlike most other jurisdictions, Queensland agricultural producers incur duty on agricultural insurance products. This puts Queensland producers at a competitive disadvantage, and disincentivises investment in risk management.
Likewise, the inability of Queensland family producers to cost-effectively transfer family primary production land and business assets between trusts to the next generation is impeding progress in agricultural businesses.
Queensland’s agricultural producers must have every opportunity to invest in and build their enterprises in ways that will ensure that they can continue to be sustainable and viable into the future.
Abolish agricultural insurance duties in Queensland to assist producers in managing their individual risk, as has already occurred in four other jurisdictions. Queensland producers currently pay a duty of 9% on agricultural insurance products and therefore are at a competitive disadvantage when competing with producers from other jurisdictions, who can better access cheaper insurance products. Queensland producers should not be unfairly taxed to mitigate
the risks they face in producing our food and fibre.
Queensland’s dedicated farming families have often spent decades building family-run enterprises, based on knowledge gained over time and experience. This knowledge and passion is often passed on to subsequent generations, along with the land and business assets required to progress and further develop agricultural enterprises. Duties imposed on family succession transfers between trusts are an up-front cost and prevents strong regional business from remaining progressive and efficient.
With approximately 50% of Queensland remaining term lease, upon which native title must first be extinguished before freehold title can be granted, there is little hope for lessees seeking greater lease and financial security. This situation has been made even more precarious over the last two years by the case of Pate v State of Queensland and the State Government’s policy not to offer s24FA protection for lessees who are freeholding – resulting in an unclear process for achieving tenure upgrades.
Further, as lessees under the Land Act 1994, the State can at any time change the conditions on leases and indeed amend, and increase, the rent payable on them unilaterally and without any concurrent rise in the capacity to pay by the lessee. This is an incredible and unique situation, and one that would benefit from some ‘blue sky thinking’ and leadership, bringing together pastoralists and traditional owners to consider how we can boost the viability of both pastoral and indigenous tenures into the future.