Friday 22 December 2017
This morning I have spoken to Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud to convey the seriousness of the impact of India’s 30 per cent tariff on chickpeas and lentils on Victorian farmers.
Victoria’s chickpea and lentil farmers have battled frost, hail and heavy rains in the past months. India’s decision to impose a 30 per cent tariff, effective immediately, has hit our hard working farmers at the worst possible time.
The imposition of a tariff, without warning and during harvest time, is not the way to manage trade relationships.
I have encouraged the Federal Government to take the strongest possible action on behalf of Victoria’s chickpea and lentil farmers.
Wednesday 13 December 2017
Daniel Andrews continues to stand by while his union mates stop our hardworking farmers from exporting their goods.
In Parliament today, Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford failed to acknowledge the economic and reputational damage a union blockade at the Port of Melbourne has forced on Victorian businesses.
Ms Pulford failed to explain why she had refused requests for assistance from Victorian businesses with produce stranded at Webb Dock.
Ms Pulford didn’t acknowledge the businesses, instead washing her hands of the issue.
There are 1000 shipping containers of goods, including agricultural product, stranded at the Port of Melbourne after the three-week union blockade.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh
Daniel Andrews has made it clear he isn’t willing to lift a finger against his union mates, even if they are damaging farmers’ bottom line and threatening Victoria’s agricultural exports.
Our farmers slog their guts out from dawn to dusk and turn out the best produce in the world but this union picket is wrecking their livelihoods and Victoria’s international reputation as a reliable exporter.
Daniel Andrews and his Agriculture Minister should be right in the thick of getting this resolved but yet again the people and industries of country Victoria are being sacrificed for Labor’s union mates.
Comments attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Luke O’Sullivan
It’s disgraceful that when hard-working businesses like Kyvalley Dairy at Kyabram go directly to Labor’s Agriculture Minister appealing for help, the Minister’s minders tell them the Andrews Government doesn’t want to get involved.
This union action is costing our farm export businesses dollars and their trading reputations and yet Daniel Andrews refuses to act.
Tuesday 28 November 2017
Lisa Neville has had laws proposing tougher penalties for water theft in Victoria sitting on her desk for three years.
The Water Minister has flagged she is now belatedly drafting a stricter compliance regime, in light of the Murray Darling Basin Authority’s compliance review, despite having had the solution since she came to government.
The former Liberal Nationals government undertook a complete rewrite of Victoria’s Water Act which proposed tougher penalties for non-compliance in Victoria, including introducing remedial action notices and broader infringement notices.
Lisa Neville’s partisan and short sighted decision to shelve that work has led to the reputation of Victorian irrigators being unfairly tarnished.
The compliance review, released over the weekend, noted Victoria’s strong culture of compliance but says the state lacks ‘a full suite of penalties and sanctions’ against water theft.
There’s no reason for Lisa Neville to go back to the drawing board. Victorian irrigators will see change far sooner if Labor implements the tougher penalties proposed in the Liberal Nationals’ Water Bill 2014.
Thursday 30 November 2017
The Premier and Agriculture Minister today continued to refuse to answer questions in Parliament on Labor’s reported Northcote by-election preference deal with the Animal Justice Party.
AJP Northcote candidate Nina Lenk has said AJP preferenced Labor ahead of the Greens in Northcote “because they were offering us a Victorian welfare group for animals” and “$500,000 for animal organisations and community organisations”.
AJP’s policies include ending livestock farming for a “long-term, total transition to plant-based agriculture” and urge the withdrawal of Government support for animal product industries.
Jaala Pulford continues to evade questions on her decision to announce a new public sector group, Animal Welfare Victoria, and $500,000 of grants on the same day early voting opened for the Northcote by-election.
The Liberal Nationals’ questions have gone unanswered in Parliament this week, including:
- What stakeholders did she consult with before making the decision to form Animal Welfare Victoria?
- Why didn’t she consult the Victorian Farmers Federation, the Australian Veterinary Association or even the RSPCA?
- Was the Minister aware that her decision to form Animal Welfare Victoria and commit $500,000 worth of grants would result in the Animal Justice Party preferencing Labor ahead of The Greens at the Northcote by-election?
- Why didn’t the Minister inform the Livestock Industry Consultative Committee of her decision to form Animal Welfare Victoria, which met with Chief Veterinary Officer Charles Milne four days before AWV was announced?
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh
Daniel Andrews and Jaala Pulford have serious questions to answer on this alleged cash for votes deal with the AJP ahead of the Northcote by-election.
Daniel Andrews is proving time and time again he is the Premier for Melbourne and will sell out regional Victorians at any cost.
Tuesday 14 November 2017
Daniel Andrews’ desperate bid to plug the hole in Victoria’s power supply couldn’t come at a worse time for Victorian farmers.
The Andrews Labor Government’s failure to stop the closure of Hazelwood Power Station or make up the loss of power supply means Victoria will need expensive diesel generators to keep the lights on in summer.
Today in Parliament, Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio refused to answer questions on the impact the diesel generators would have on diesel prices, leading up to a busy grain harvest.
Victorian grain farmers will be paying the price for Daniel Andrews’ incompetence.
When an additional 500,000 litres of diesel a day is needed to keeping the lights and air-conditioning on, it will mean huge pressure on diesel prices at a time when our grain farmers need it most.
Friday 10 November 2017
The Andrews Labor Government’s late announcement today of a price for electronic identification (eID) tags for sheep and goats next year is long overdue.
Jaala Pulford promised to give primary producers certainty ‘in the first half’ of 2017, only to force them to wait until nearly Christmas.
Today’s announcement fails to recognise serious concerns saleyard operators and the Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association (ALPA) have with Labor’s slow progress on developing the software and physical infrastructure needed to read and upload data to the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS).
The Agriculture Minister must stop ignoring saleyard operators’ concerns and grant them a 12 month extension past the March 2018 deadline to rollout eID.
Jaala Pulford is burying her head in the sand and assuming eID will implement itself, but it’s clear that’s not the case.
Victoria’s biosecurity is too important for a half-baked Labor rush job.
Friday 3 November 2017
Shadow Water Minister Steph Ryan is encouraging landholders to make their views known on the Andrews Labor Government’s draft Rural Drainage Strategy.
Ms Ryan said she was concerned the strategy failed to provide greater clarity around the management of rural drainage schemes.
Labor’s strategy proposes that rural drainage schemes will be managed in four ways:
· By individual landholders;
· Collectively through amicable agreements;
· Collectively through written agreements; and
· Collectively through written agreements with support from government agencies and with councils offering administrative support where landholders are prepared to pay for that service.
“By putting forward every option, the government is actually putting forward no option at all,” Ms Ryan said.
“Water Minister Lisa Neville clearly has no interest in fixing the uncertainty surrounding the management of rural drainage schemes,” Ms Ryan said.
The former Liberal Nationals Government tasked a Parliamentary committee to investigate rural drainage schemes which reported in 2013.
The committee found that the responsibilities of local government and catchment management authorities had been confused, with both groups being reluctant to take on unfunded activities.
It recommended the Victorian Government develop a rural drainage strategy which outlined the role of State Government, CMAs, councils and community committees.
The strategy was also supposed to outline the process for identifying the lead drainage body in a given areas, cost sharing principles, how to strike a tariff, the nominating agency to raise and disburse the tariff, management structure options to be adopted by the responsible authority, a policy for regulating new drainage works and systems and the standards to apply.
“Labor have had almost three years to develop this strategy, yet the result is a dog’s breakfast that provides no clear direction for landholders,” Ms Ryan said.
Landholders who wish to provide feedback on the strategy can attend a regional forum or make a submission online atwww.engage.vic.gov.au/ruraldrainage
Thursday 2 November 2017
Water Minister Lisa Neville must insist Labor’s senators stand up for the interests of Victoria’s Basin communities.
Labor’s Victorian senators Kim Carr, Jacinta Collins, Gavin Marshall and Kimberley Kitching have been completely silent about where they stand on the recovery of the 450GL of up water from the Southern Basin.
In 2013 The Nationals moved amendments in the Senate which would have prevented the 450 GL of up water from being recovered through water buybacks and to amend the target from a concrete 450 GL of water to ‘up to’ 450 GL.
Victoria’s Labor senators voted against the interests of Victoria’s Basin communities by voting the amendments down.
Minister Neville seems unable or unwilling to garner even an ounce of support from her federal colleagues when it comes to defending Victoria’s interests.
These Victorian Senators will have a chance to redeem themselves as Victoria looks for support to prevent more water leaving our irrigation districts towards the 450 GL.
Comments attributable to Shadow Water Minister Steph Ryan
“Labor’s Victorian senators have a history of putting party politics ahead of the interests of Victoria’s Basin communities when it comes to the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
“If Labor had supported The Nationals’ amendments in 2013, Victorian irrigators would have the certainty of knowing the 450 gigalitres of up water could not be recovered through buybacks.
“Lisa Neville needs to reassure northern Victorian irrigators that her Federal colleagues will not sell them down the river yet again.”
Friday 27 October 2017
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Water Steph Ryan
The Minister for Water must come clean on what has prompted another review into Goulburn Murray Water.
The advisory panel announced today is the third body created in two years to advise on GMW projects and strategic direction, and suggests the Government lacks confidence in the organisation.
The Minister must explain to customers and key stakeholders exactly what the issues are, and provide an opportunity for the community to contribute to the review process.
She must also explain why her dime-a-dozen reviews have so far failed to achieve any results.
The Minister has had three years to address the concerns of GMW and northern Victoria and it’s time we start seeing action and results, not just more reviews.
Thursday 26 October 2017
Alarm bells are ringing for Victorian dog breeders as the Andrews Labor Government dithers on its proposed Domestic Animals Amendment (Puppy Farms And Pet Shops) Bill 2016.
Breeders and stakeholder groups continue to highlight an ongoing lack of consultation and secrecy on changes to the original Bill.
Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford was forced into an embarrassing backdown in June, after admitting the Bill was “unlikely to pass the Parliament in its current form”.
It followed a highly critical Legislative Council report handed down in December 2016 that found “consultation with relevant stakeholders in regard to this Bill was inadequate” and recommended the Bill be withdrawn.
The Parliamentary Report also recommended the Government “abandon limiting breeders to 10 fertile females” as evidence from multiple witnesses confirmed there was no scientific basis to the number that had been selected by Labor for its election promise of 2014.
The Government indicated it planned to debate the Bill in the Legislative Assembly in September, but that never happened and no explanation was given.
Comments from Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh
Dog breeders and stakeholders are rightly frustrated, suspicious and angry with the ongoing secrecy from the Andrews Labor Government.
If Jaala Pulford has nothing to hide, she should immediately release the house amendments in draft form so that dog breeders and other stakeholders know exactly what is going on.