What Victorian farmers and their communities need this election
This Victorian election, farmers need certainty to underpin long-term investment and business confidence. To achieve this, the VFF election campaign has divided its critical needs under four key platforms.
- Energy: $155 million to develop a long-term energy plan including upgrades to support energy transmission capacity in regional areas and to upskill electrical contractors to provide advice and service farms.
- Roads: $6.2 billion over five years to fix the State’s roads, including $50 million per annum to assist local councils in maintenance.
- Telecommunications: $600 million to rid regional Victoria of blackspots and ensure farmers and their communities have high speed internet and reliable telephone access.
- Rail and ports: $24.5 million to upgrade the Maroona-Portland rail line and deliver the Port Rail Shuttle project to remove trucks from Melbourne Roads.
Healthy and safe workplaces
- Farm safety: $10 million to build farm safety awareness through a ‘stay actively farming longer’ campaign, appoint VFF farm safety officers and implement a safety equipment grant scheme.
- Crime: $13.5 million to deliver dedicated agriculture liaison officers within the Victorian Police force and implement a drug action plan.
- Healthcare: $18.3 million to reduce travel times to and from critical health care, appoint additional medical workers in rural and regional hospitals, expand VFF’s successful ‘look over the farm gate’ mental health program and increase the awareness and delivery of vaccinations to livestock workers.
- Pests and disease: $104 million to underpin the integration of government systems, ongoing biosecurity work in the Department, the appointment of an Animal Health and Biosecurity Intensive Farming Officer, and enforce egg stamping regulations to underpin traceability.
Science-based practical regulation
- Animal welfare: $20 million to support the development of a sustainable and responsible animal welfare plan and ongoing RD&E.
- Planning: $4.4 million to revisit the fence line exemption policy; examine the costs of invasive pests to biodiversity, human health and agricultural production; implement the Smart Planning initiative for agriculture ensuring the appropriate regulatory tools are used; and support the development of government staff with agriculture knowledge.
- Land care: $807 million to return Landcare and transfer Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs) to the agriculture portfolio, continue the Chicken Care quality assurance program, fund non-riparian Landcare projects on biodiversity and soil and health outcomes, and support CMAs to work with private landholders on nil tenure pest plant and animal management programs.
A confident future
- Rates: a commitment to implement a fair and equitable rates system which allows regional communities to prosper.
- New entrants: $1.3 million to provide training for new entrants and upskill existing farmers in regulatory compliance and reporting, business skills, risk and financial management.
- Promotion: $16.6 million over four years to promote Victoria’s safe and sustainable production and appoint a permanent food and fibre officer to develop educational materials linked to the curriculum.
- Emergencies: $1 million to better ensure emergency preparedness including improving property definitions.
- Local Government: $3 million to ensure local governments focus on statutory and core duties, and provide transparent financial and activity reporting, to demonstrate impact on agriculture and, in turn, deliver business and community confidence.