Media releases

A new voice for Victoria in Federal leadership

Thursday 7 December 2017

Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh has congratulated Victorian Senator Bridget McKenzie on her election as The Nationals’ deputy leader today.

Speaking on behalf of the Victorian Nationals and the state Liberal Nationals parliamentary team, Mr Walsh said Senator McKenzie will be a strong voice for rural and regional Victoria.

“Bridget has been a determined advocate for Victoria in her seven years in the Australian Senate and her elevation to deputy leader gives Victoria a voice at the highest levels of Federal Government,” Mr Walsh said.

“Bridget has stood up for the best interests of our regional communities and young Australians, working hard to improve regional education to make sure our young people have the best start in life.

“I look forward to continuing to work with Bridget and The Nationals’ Federal leader Barnaby Joyce to further strengthen our communities in regional Victoria.”

Mr Walsh also took the opportunity to thank former deputy leader Fiona Nash.

“Fiona left a lasting legacy in our regional communities across Australia, particularly in her time as Minister for Rural Health and Minister for Regional Development,” Mr Walsh said.

“On behalf of the Victorian Liberal Nationals team, I thank Fiona for her tireless efforts to secure the very best for our country communities, as deputy leader of The Nationals and during her 12 years in the Australian Senate.”

Media releases Infrastructure Regional Development Community Services

A website won’t fix country roads

Tuesday 5 December 2017

Today, Labor’s Roads Minister Luke Donnellan detailed his ‘bold plan’ to fix country Victoria’s deteriorating road network – a new website.

Country Victorians don’t need a website to tell us regional and rural roads have been seriously neglected by the Andrews Labor Government.

What’s worse is that Luke Donnellan’s ‘bold plan’ doesn’t include a cent of new investment to fix country roads.

Despite the potholes and dangerously uneven surfaces littering our country road network, the Andrews Labor Government refuses to reverse its decision to axe the Liberal Nationals’ successful $160 million Country Roads and Bridges Program.

The only ‘bold’ part of Labor’s plan is its absolute determination to ignore the needs of country Victorians.

Media releases Environment

Labor making a dogs breakfast of puppy farm reform

Tuesday 28 November 2017

Labor making a dogs breakfast of puppy farm reform

Victorians are forced to pay more for power, pay more for a home and now they’ll pay more for a pet under Daniel Andrews’ failed animal welfare reforms.

The Andrews Labor Government is making a dogs breakfast of its puppy farm reforms.

Instead of focusing on people who are operating illegally, Labor is targeting people who are breeding animals responsibly, ethically and legally.

There’s no scientific evidence to support Jaala Pulford’s decision to put responsible and lawful dog breeders out of business by limiting the number of fertile female dogs.

The RSPCA told the Inquiry into the Domestic Animals Amendment (Puppy Farms and Pet Shops) Bill 2016 there was “no evidence to show that the number of fertile female animals that you have has a significant bearing on the animal welfare” (p 32)

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) agreed, telling the Inquiry:

“Animal welfare is not dictated by the number of dogs a person has; it is more dictated by the attitude that the animal owner has or the people in charge of looking after those animals” (p 33)

It’s clear Labor’s desperate to get its reforms through no matter the cost, only sharing the full details of its House amendments with key stakeholders days before they were announced.

All Labor’s reforms will achieve is to make it harder and more expensive for people to get the family pet of their choice.

Media releases Agriculture Environment

Labor’s three year delay on water compliance

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.

Regional Development Agriculture Infrastructure Community Services Environment Media releases

Lots of questions, but no answers on Northcote by-election preference deal

Thursday 30 November 2017

Background

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.

Media releases Community Services

The Nationals launch Shepparton community preselection

Wednesday 22 November 2017

The Nationals have announced key dates for Victoria’s first community preselection, to be held in the seat of Shepparton leading up to the 2018 State Election.

Leader of The Nationals in Victoria Peter Walsh and State President Neil Pankhurst were in Shepparton today to announce candidate nominations for the community preselection will open on 12 February 2018 and close on March 9.

Voters registered for the seat of Shepparton will vote in the preselection on April 14 next year, ahead of the State Election in November.

Mr Pankhurst said he was looking forward to opening nominations.

“The community preselection gives the people who know the region best a leading role in choosing who will be The Nationals candidate in the 2018 State Election,” Mr Pankhurst said.

“I look forward to working with the Shepparton Branch and Peter Walsh on this unique opportunity for a truly democratic preselection process.”

The Nationals’ community preselection will be the first ever held in Victoria, giving the Shepparton region a full vote on their elected representative.

“People who live and work in the Shepparton region have a deep understand of what matters to local people,” Mr Walsh said.

“We are looking for candidates who are prepared to be a strong voice for the region in State Parliament and fight for the community’s best interests.”

Candidate nominations will open on 12 February 2018 and close on March 9. The community preselection will be held on April 14.

For more information visit www.sheppartonvotes.com

 

KEY DATES

Candidate nominations open

12 February 2018

Candidate nominations close

9 March 2018

Shepparton community preselection

14 April 2018

Media releases Agriculture Environment Community Services

Farmers face skyrocketing diesel prices to keep the lights on

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.

Media releases Agriculture Environment Community Services

Labor must commit to 12 month extension on eID

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.

Media releases

Statement on Melina Bath

Friday 10 November 2017

 The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath is recovering in hospital after she was involved in a road accident on Wednesday afternoon.

Melina was driving from a meeting in Maffra when another car collided with her vehicle. She was taken to Latrobe Regional Hospital for treatment, where she remained overnight.

Melina is in good spirits and remains in hospital where she is being treated for a fracture in the shoulder.

On behalf of The Nationals, I wish Melina the very best in her recovery.

We look forward to having her back on deck soon.

Thanks also to the emergency services staff who attended on Wednesday and the medical team at Latrobe Regional Hospital for taking care of our hard-working and dedicated Member for Eastern Victoria.

Media releases Agriculture Environment Infrastructure

Rural drainage strategy goes down the gurgler

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