Australia needs agricultural job investment, says Growcom

Top Stories
Australia needs agricultural job investment, says Growcom

Queensland horticultural body Growcom has called for more investment in agricultural science jobs, after a recent study highlighted a serious skills shortage.

An Australian Council of Deans of Agriculture (ACDA) study showed 4,000 positions in agricultural science and related fields were left unfilled.

"The lack of promotion of careers in agriculture has led to agricultural science being seen as a 'poor cousin' which does not offer interesting opportunities. This is a view that needs to be countered at an early point in the education of young people," said Growcom CEO Alex Livingstone.

"But the other cause of low take-up of education in agricultural sciences has been the stripping of resources and funding from government primary industry agencies.

"Fewer full-time permanent positions are being offered and the 'extension' part of rural development and extension (RD&E) is all but abolished. For students to embark on study in this area, they need to know that there will be a well-remunerated, secure and rewarding job at the end of it."

Livingstone says with the Queensland state election coming up, the next government will need to focus on this issue, while also providing equal funding to both animal and plant biosecurity.

"Despite the vulnerability of Queensland, particularly through our northern border, to plant-based pests such as Asian Honey bee and citrus canker, plant biosecurity has received considerably less funding than animal biosecurity for many years.

"Equivalent funding for plant biosecurity would provide more positions for plant scientists, who are badly needed to keep our crops free from pests and diseases.

"Growing one-third of Australia's horticulture crop, Queensland needs to take a leading hand in addressing the drastic lack of graduates in such an important field. We will be looking to the next Queensland Government to take action in this area."

Photo: ACDA

Subscribe to our newsletter