Mayor to fight for Research Centre rethink

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams has pledged to lead the fight to convince the Newman Government to reverse its decision to axe a vital program at Redland Research Station and slash 20 jobs.

Councillor Williams said she would stand side by side with the industry to try to convince the Government to reverse the decision.

“The Government in a surprise announcement on budget day revealed it planned to axe 20 jobs at the centre and shut down the Lifestyle Horticulture and Extension Program there,” the Mayor said.

“These research programs are recognised nationally and internationally. Such is the centre’s standing internationally that it attracts industry tours from Europe and the United States.

“The industry’s Australian peak body has endorsed the Redland Research Centre as its primary R & D provider.

“This centre and its highly-trained staff service an $800 million-plus nursery industry.

“According to the government’s own figures, nursery production is third behind fruit and vegetables and sugar in contributing to the value of horticulture in Queensland.”

The Mayor said the proposed sacking of the research staff and the axing of the centre’s nursery industry work would be a devastating blow to a vital industry.

“The industry believes the centre delivers great value for money – contrary to what the government says,” she said.

“They say they have invested $1.3 million of industry money directly into research at the centre and that the investment return for the government and industry from the Redlands Research Centre is the highest of any in Queensland.”

The Mayor said she would write to Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to urge him to reconsider and then reverse the decision.

“I am told this decision was made without consultation with the industry it directly impacts,” she said.

“I acknowledge that the government has to find savings, but I would hope they are made in a way that does not devastate an industry and put its R & D program back years.

“That’s the bottom line if the government proceeds with its plans for the Redland facility.”

“It’s up to us to convince the Minister that the Government got it wrong in this instance, and that they should reconsider and then reverse the decision.”