Comments from Peter Walsh, Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture:
“This is a good first step for the State Government to support our dairy farmers and their families.
“The next step will be to provide relief that eases the cash flow crunch for our dairy businesses.
“Farmers have raised with me this week the possibility of municipal rates relief, waivers for water charges and easily accessed low interest finance which would help ease some of the financial pressure dairy businesses are under.
“The Liberal-Nationals Coalition stands side by side with our dairy farmers and we will support all Federal and State initiatives that offer relief from this current crisis.”
National’s candidate for Ballarat, Paul Tatchell today welcomed a visit to the Ballarat Saleyards by Senator Bridget McKenzie, a key instigator of the recent Inquiry on the red meat processing sector.
Mr. Tatchell said the purpose of Senator McKenzie’s visit to the saleyards in Ballarat (Thursday) is to talk with local operators about some of the local problems.
The Interim Report into competition in the red meat processing sector by the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee was released earlier this month in Canberra.
The purpose of the inquiry was to shine a light on the red meat processing sector in response to meat processors’ boycott of the Barnawartha Saleyards on 17 February 2015.
Senator McKenzie said when nine meat processors all decided not to turn up to the Barnawartha saleyards; it was a watershed moment for producers, prompting me to initiate this Senate inquiry following an outcry from local farmers.
Mr. Tatchell said Ballarat is the biggest sheep yard in Victoria and a Cattle yard, about the same capacity as Barnawartha.
“The site for the proposed new Ballarat Saleyards is totally at odds with Nationals policy in creating economic investment in Victoria’s largest Rural City; The Ballarat saleyards has been the catalyst for economic growth in precinct, and itis inconceivable to put at risk established businesses ran by hard working country people. The saleyards is the iconic heart of Ballarat’s rural history providing a solid foundation for regional investment.
The suggested site in Miners Rest defies the synergies that promote organic growth in commercial terms, and puts unnecessary pressure on the family orientated community of Miners Rest. This is not a case of going backwards to move forwards, it’s about developing opportunities on a proven foundation.” When I came to this district 35 years ago, the saleyards stood idle waiting for the stock to come, look at the precinct now, a thriving commercial precinct with capacity for future development and jobs”
“Senator McKenzie was on the Red Meat Inquiry Committee and her visit enables concerns around this project to be highlighted,” he said.
Local saleyard advocates, the Ballarat Region Saleyards Action Group, welcomed Senator McKenzie’s visit.
Spokesperson Mick Madden said “we are extremely concerned with the manner in which the Ballarat saleyards project has been managed”.
“Ballarat Council has given away a publicly owned business that is generating $1 million in profit per annum, for a single dollar”.
“This arrangement with RIPL threatens the future of stock sales in this region. The new saleyards will be run purely for profit and with excessive fee increases which will be ultimately passed onto the consumer”.
“We are grateful that Senator McKenzie and Paul Tatchell have taken an interest in this issue” said Mr. Madden.
Senator McKenzie said the evidence provided to the committee clearly demonstrated that producer concerns about a lack of transparency and unequal bargaining power with the big meat processors were justified and that continuing to put up with such treatment was simply untenable.
“It had a huge impact on local producers, who were at the mercy of the buyers’ wishes and who saw $50 to $100 taken off every grown beast sold on the day.”
“Throughout this inquiry we heard a lot about abuse of market power. We have heard a lot about producers not wanting to come forward and give evidence because they are afraid of retribution from other players within the supply chain. Confidential submissions received by the committee have included shocking allegations of bullying and intimidation,” Senator McKenzie said.
The ACCC recently announced market study into the cattle and beef industry in Australia which will examine competition, efficiency, transparency and trading issues in the beef and cattle supply chain.
Mr Andy Maddison will be standing in the 2016 Federal Election as the Nationals candidate for the electorate of Bendigo.
Mr Maddison works within his family’s business as a stock and station agent, he knows intimately the daily reality of operating a small business as well as the importance of supporting rural industries across the community.
Mr Maddison is married to Sarah and is father to four boys. He has a strong commitment to the people of the Bendigo electorate and a personal understanding of what support families need from their Government.
Andy’s focus is on fighting for safe roads and infrastructure, rural health needs and bringing economic growth opportunities to the people of Bendigo. Andy is keen on ensuring regional communities have equitable access to services as those Victorians in Melbourne have.
Andy Maddison believes the people of Bendigo deserve a strong future.
The Nationals for Regional Victoria are pleased to announce Paul Tatchell as our strong local candidate for the Federal electorate of Ballarat.
Mr Tatchell has an impressive record of community service within the wider Ballarat community, serving as Moorabool Mayor and in many, varied local leadership roles in areas of health, community safety and planning.
He is married with adult children and is a proud grandfather of one. Mr. Tatchell has lived in the Ballarat electorate for 35 years and over these years he has earned community respect and built a reputation as a passionate, fair community advocate.
Mr Tatchell has run his own family businesses in the trucking industry and knows the true realities of small business as an experienced and community minded business owner. As a business operator and father Mr Tatchell believes local jobs, roads, health, community safety and education are local issues that need a strong conservative candidate to progress.
Mr Tatchell is a community leader who is focussed on finding solutions and recognising local opportunities, he will be a strong voice within the Coalition Government for delivering for the region.
The National party is a growing political force in Canberra because of our strong representation on issues of regional importance such as support for small businesses, increased road funding and delivering on infrastructure development.
With Paul Tatchell as the candidate for Ballarat, local people will have a strong and experienced voice who has the support of a winning Coalition team.
It was revealed this afternoon in a Public Accounts and Estimates Committee hearing that Daniel Andrews’ Minister for Youth Affairs has completely abandoned young Victorians.
Questioning by the Liberal-Nationals revealed that Jenny Mikakos has abolished the Office of Youth from her department and removed Youth Affairs from this year’s budget output initiatives.
And despite being happy to answer Labor’s questions about other portfolios, when asked by the Liberal-Nationals how many jobs the Back to Work scheme will create for young people, Minister Mikakos said it wasn’t “her issue”.
She told the committee that creating jobs for young people was an issue that relates to the Minister for Employment’s portfolio.
This all comes at a time when TAFE and training enrolments have plummeted by 16 per cent and youth unemployment is as high as 17.1 per cent in parts of the state.
Comments from Shadow Minister for Young Victorians Steph Ryan:
“Instead of supporting young Victorians to undertake training and find work, Jenny Mikakos thinks creating jobs for young people is not her issue.
“Under the Andrews Government, TAFE and training enrolments have plummeted, youth unemployment is as high as 17 per cent and the Back to Work scheme is failing to create full-time jobs.
“Victoria’s young people deserve better.”
Training and Skills Minister Steve Herbert has admitted to massive funding cuts to student training under questioning from Parliament’s Public Accounts and Estimates Committee.
More than $175 million in funding meant for student training was cut from the Victorian Training Guarantee, including $125 million that was returned to consolidated revenue.
A further $50 million of money earmarked for student training was instead handed out as general grants to “bolster” TAFEs – with no outcomes or deliverables attached.
The admission shows Labor has broken its pre-election promise to grow enrolments and restore TAFE.
The number of students in government-subsidised training has plummeted by 15 per cent under Labor but Mr Herbert today claimed “they’re not real numbers”.
Yet just last week he told Parliament: “The training system should not just be about shovelling bucketloads full of cash to providers so that they can get rich. It should be measured on the outcomes it provides for students, industry, jobs, productivity and economic growth”.
Comments from Shadow Minister for Training, Skills and Apprenticeships Steph Ryan:
“Steve Herbert and Daniel Andrews have completely backed away from their TAFE promises, abandoning young people trying to get the training they need to find a job.
“All we have seen since the Andrews Government came to office is cuts to training funding and plummeting student enrolments.
“Steve Herbert and Daniel Andrews have broken their promises to Victorian students and job-seekers.”
Leader of The Nationals and Coalition Shadow Minister for Water Peter Walsh has welcomed the passing of amendments to the Commonwealth Water Act.
“On behalf of Victorian irrigators who called for these amendments, I extend our thanks to Barnaby Joyce for getting this important Bill dealt with before the Federal election,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Amendment gives the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder much greater flexibility for spending the proceeds gained from water sales.
“Under the old law, if the CEWH sold water to the temporary market, it had to use the proceeds of that sale to purchase water back at a future date.
“That restrictive condition is gone now, and the CEWH will be able to make smarter use of these funds. For example, it could invest in engineering works like the systems we have in Gunbower Forest or Hattah Lakes that deliver positive environmental outcomes while using water much more efficiently.
“This alteration was a key part of the submission I made to the Senate’s Basin Plan enquiry last year. Minister Joyce committed to us that he would fix it before the election and he has delivered on the promise.
“The Water Act amendment is a good first step to ensuring better outcomes for irrigators but The Nationals will continue the fight for a fairer Basin Plan that protects our irrigators, rural industries and communities.”
Damian Drum has been elected unopposed as The Nationals candidate to contest the Federal seat of Murray at the next federal election.
The Nationals for Regional Victoria confirmed Mr Drum, who is currently serving as an Upper House Member in State Parliament, will contest the seat to be vacated by Sharman Stone, who announced her retirement last month.
The Nationals Victorian President Peter Schwarz said Mr Drum was an outstanding candidate with strong links to Shepparton, Goulburn Valley and broader Murray community.
“As someone who was born and grew up in the Goulburn Valley, Damian is passionate about the future of the region. He has the skills and political experience to deliver results for the community,” Mr Schwarz said.
“The Nationals are the only Party that is 100% focussed on the issues affecting rural and regional communities. The Murray electorate will do better under The Nationals.”
Mr Drum said he was looking forward to the challenge of winning the seat, which was held by the Nationals for 47 years under Sir John “Black Jack” McEwen and then Bruce Lloyd.
“The Nationals have a proven track record of standing up for people who live outside our capital cities and our Federal Parliamentary team are doing an outstanding job of delivering for regional Australia,” Mr Drum said.
“The contest in Murray is about who the community can trust to stand up and fight for them in Canberra and deliver a better deal for the Murray electorate.”
“The Nationals know what is important in Murray. Jobs are important, economic development is important and delivering the infrastructure for better roads, bridges and public transport for our region is important”
“Water security is critical for us in Murray. I know we need to strike the right balance between water for a growing agricultural sector and the environment. We need to keep as much water as possible in the region and I will fight to stop 450 gl of so called "up water " heading down the Murray . I just won't accept that arrangement.”
“For the whole electorate of Murray, I will be fighting to make sure we get our fair share of government funding for key services in health, education, childcare, aged care and transport.”
For further information, please contact
Sally Branson, State Director 0418 335 713
Nominations for the seat of Murray open today and close on Monday 11 April.
The Nationals are the only party solely focused on representing rural and regional Victorians, and we have a proud 100-year history of doing so. The electorate of Murray has great historical significance for The National Party, being first held by John McEwen. With this legacy, and an eye firmly on the future, our party is committed to Murray again having a strong National Party voice to put the electorate first.
The diverse needs of those who live and work across the seat of Murray deserve a local champion who will fight for their interests in Federal Parliament. After local discussions with communities in the electorate, our party has decided to open nominations for preselection in the electorate of Murray.
Nominations will open tomorrow, Tuesday the 29th of March and close at 5pm on Monday the 11th of April, 2016.
For further information, please contact Sally Branson, State Director 03 9654 6588