by Ali Kuchel
SECURING an additional water source for the Lockyer Valley was one of the hot topics discussed by politicians and primary producers on Monday.
Farmers had the chance to speak with Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls and Senator Barry O'Sullivan about their agricultural concerns for the region.
Meeting at the Qualipac packing sheds, Lockyer Water Users Forum member Greg Banff called on Mr Nicholls for a commitment on water entitlements.
"We can't do anything without having a source of water,” Mr Banff said.
"Water is the key to everything in the Lockyer Valley. To have a secure water source could be the greatest single infrastructure development the Lockyer Valley has seen since the railways.”
Addressing about 40 farmers, Mr Nicholls said he was happy to commit to looking at the water entitlements that might be available from Wivenhoe Dam.
"We understand entirely the benefits that would be there - great for jobs and the local economy,” Mr Nicholls said.
"It would be enormous for this area... Being able to provide extra water into the Lockyer would, as I say, address the growing needs.”
Mr Nicholls said there was a great future for agriculture, particularly in the Lockyer Valley.
"The people in the cities probably have the wrong idea of what (agriculture) is these days,” he said.
"They don't understand just how modern and how technology-savvy people are in agriculture.
"We're not going to feed the world, we're not going to feed China, but we are going to produce a high-quality product that's good value and provides a reasonable return.”
Touring the Lockyer Valley on Monday, Mr O'Sullivan highlighted the importance of agriculture for the nation.
"Every dollar that is made at a business is worth $7.50 in the community,” he said.
"We understand the significance of this economy.”
Lockyer Valley Deputy Mayor Jason Cook also raised a question about the inland rail, asking Mr Nicholls if there was a possibility of passenger rail.
Mr Nicholls said there was no chance of getting passenger rail in the next five years.
Mr Sullivan said the inland rail was essential as it cost more to get grain from the farm to the port than it did to get grain to overseas destinations.