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Labor still failing to consult regional industry

Friday 20 October 2017

Background

Daniel Andrews has snubbed the views of Victorian farmers by failing to consult with Victoria’s livestock and intensive industries before establishing Animal Welfare Victoria.

Animal Welfare Victoria was announced under the cover of darkness, without consultation with Victoria’s peak farmer group, the Victorian Farmers Federation or the Livestock Industry Consultative Committee (LICC).

LICC was established to provide advice to government on livestock industry issues and even though they met days before the announcement, were not consulted.

The VFF described the move as “bowing to an activist agenda”.

The Andrews Government provided little information on how the new body would operate.

Comments from Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh

Daniel Andrews is taking desperate steps to win over greens voters in Northcote, at the expense of our regional industries.

It’s incredibly sloppy of the Government to be surprising major stakeholders like the VFF with announcements like this.

Our farmers and regional communities have had a gutful of Melbourne-centric Labor putting city votes ahead of our regional industries.

Comments from Member for Northern Victoria Luke O’Sullivan

Labor’s trying to out-green The Greens in Northcote, putting our farmers and country communities last in the process.

Our farmers are experts in animal welfare – their livelihoods depend on it.

Animal Welfare Victoria appears to be nothing more than another barnacle clinging to Labor’s bloated public sector with no real benefit to farmers.

 

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More business support needed for drought areas

The Andrews Labor Government’s drought support package is a starting point, but should go further to support farmers and small businesses that are under severe financial strain.

Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Peter Walsh, said for many farmers in the southern Mallee and Wimmera this was the second or third year of failed crops.

Mr Walsh said the Andrews Labor Government should provide greater support to businesses, including discounts to municipal rates and fixed water charges.

“The government’s package is a first step, but it does not include any business support for farms and small businesses affected by drought, and some of the programs are re-announcements,” Mr Walsh said.

“It is not just farmers who struggle in a drought, local businesses are also impacted by the lack of spending in the town.

“In the last drought, farmers were offered discounts on their municipal rates and fixed water charges and it would be beneficial if Daniel Andrews included similar rate relief programs in this support package.”

Mr Walsh said there was around $20 million left from the Wimmera-Mallee Pipeline, which was completed under budget, which could be used to fund water projects in drought-affected areas.

“These water projects need to get started immediately so they benefit drought-affected farmers as soon as possible,” Mr Walsh said.