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Dairy training

Friday 12 January 2018

Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE’s decision to cut dairy training at Warragul and Leongatha raises more questions than it answers.

The Andrews Government must come clean on the number of students who are part way through a traineeship with GOTAFE who will no longer be able to complete their training with the provider. 

Given Federation Training does not currently offer these courses, Training Minister Gayle Tierney should also detail what she is doing to ensure students who are stranded can complete their qualifications. 

This is the latest sign of instability in training in Gippsland, following revelations one-third of Federation Training’s workforce was sacked in Labor’s first year of government and figures showing a drop of 700,000 student contact hours.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Training, Skills and Apprenticeships Steph Ryan

Daniel Andrews and Gayle Tierney are missing in action yet again while Gippsland students are left in limbo.

The Andrews Government has failed to offer Gippsland trainees any assurances they’ll be able to complete their training.

Labor promised to ‘rescue’ TAFE, but instead have presided over a massive drop in student numbers and staff redundancies.

Comments attributable to Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien

Our dairy sector provides vital job opportunities and boosts our local economy.

At a time of great uncertainty for our local dairy sector, the Andrews Labor Government’s silence speaks volumes about their level of care for our region.

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Victoria’s iconic High Country history immortalised in new Hall of Fame

Wednesday 10 January 2018

An elected Liberal Nationals government will help Victoria’s High Country communities immortalise their heritage in a new High Country Hall of Fame.

Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria and Decentralisation Peter Walsh will announce the Liberal-Nationals’ commitment at Omeo this weekend at the Mountain Cattlemen’s Association of Victoria Annual Get Together.

“Just as Banjo Patterson immortalised the region in his poem The Man from Snowy River, the High Country Hall of Fame will pay tribute to the people and industries that have shaped this unique region’s history,” Mr Walsh said.

“The Hall of Fame will preserve and celebrate the High Country’s heritage, including the indigenous culture, exploration, the iconic mountain cattlemen, conservation, winter sports and other aspects of high country history, industry and life.

“It will be another attraction and asset to one of Victoria’s iconic tourism regions.”

The Hall of Fame would be established in close consultation with High Country communities to determine the best location and design for the complex.

“Our plan is for a two-step process,” Mr Walsh said.

“Firstly, an expressions of interest phase where interested communities can put forward a bid; and secondly, a shortlist phase where the best three bids would receive financial assistance and help from Regional Development Victoria to prepare detailed business cases.

“High Country communities will have a say on the best location and design for a Hall of Fame that will share their stories with locals and visitors alike.

“If the Liberal Nationals are elected at the November State Election we will ensure the rich history of this iconic region, and the people and industries that have defined it, are preserved and celebrated.

“This will be a place our communities can be proud of and it will add to the outstanding tourism attractions that already draw more than one million people to the High Country every year.”

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Vic famers hard hit by chickpea and lentil tariff

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.

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Statement on Federal Cabinet reshuffle

Tuesday 19 December 2017

On behalf of the Victorian Nationals, I congratulate The Federal Nationals Deputy Leader Bridget McKenzie on her elevation to Federal Cabinet as Minister for Sport, Minister for Rural Health and Minister for Regional Communications.

Bridget has proven to be a fierce advocate for our regional Victorian communities in her time in the Senate and I have no doubt she will bring this determination to the Federal Cabinet table.

I also wish to congratulate Member for Murray Damian Drum on his appointment as Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, reinforcing Victoria’s strong ties with the Federal leadership team.

Thanks must go to Darren Chester for his work delivering for regional Victoria, filling the void left by Daniel Andrews and his Melbourne-centric Labor Government.

Darren’s outstanding advocacy secured Federal funding for infrastructure projects that will benefit all rural and regional Victorians, including $1.5 billion for regional rail and $240 million for the Murray Basin Rail Project.

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Labor fails farmers as produce rots on dock

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Background

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.