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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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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 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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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.

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Rail Freight Advisory Council

Wednesday 1 November 2017

Rail Freight Advisory Council

If Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan is genuinely committed to making Victoria’s freight rail network as ‘efficient and safe as possible’ Labor should fund upgrades at level crossings on the Maryborough to Mildura line.

The Andrews Labor Government today announced the appointment of a Rail Freight Advisory Council to advise on rail industry issues.

Freight rail is the vital link between Victoria’s producers and ports that send our high quality produce across the world.

But Labor’s slow progress to start work on the $440 million Murray Basin Rail Project and last year’s ridiculous heat restrictions are making it harder for farmers to run their business.

The city-centric Andrews Labor Government is obsessed with looking inwards to Melbourne and regional Victoria is missing out.

 

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Food and Fibre Export Performance Report

Wednesday 25 October 2017

Cuts to Victoria’s agriculture budget and little action to reduce red tape for farmers are taking a toll on Victoria’s booming agriculture sector.

The Victorian Food and Fibre Export Performance Report 2016-17 was released today and showed Victoria’s agriculture sector continues to lead the nation in exports, but that growth in exports has slowed.

Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said our state’s agricultural export boom had hit the brakes under Daniel Andrews.

“It’s a credit to the hard work and innovation of farmers and industry that our food and fibre exports continue to top the board nationally,” Mr Walsh said.

“It’s disappointing that such an important sector has faced cuts from the Andrews Labor Government, most recently a $32 million cut to agriculture in this year’s State budget.

“Jaala Pulford is good at making promises and conducting reviews that fail to follow up in action to cut red tape or make it easier to do business in Victoria.

“Labor’s city-centric focus is stopping our agriculture industry growing even more.”

Good seasonal conditions that led to a bumper grain harvest for Victorian farmers saw grain exports increase by $839 million in 2016-17, while meat exports dropped $311 million.

“Our farmers and agricultural businesses are the backbone of our state’s economy and support tens of thousands of jobs in our regional communities,” Mr Walsh said.

“Rather than more cuts, the Premier for Melbourne must make a real investment in making sure these industries have a strong future.”

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Liberal Nationals Onshore Gas Policy

Monday 9 October 2017

Today, Matthew Guy and Peter Walsh announced the Liberal Nationals policy on onshore gas. Matthew Guy's statement is below.

Statement from Opposition Leader Matthew Guy

Today, Peter Walsh and I announce an onshore gas policy that will give Victorians a clear choice at the next election. This policy will help put the brakes on soaring gas prices that are currently hurting Victorian households and businesses. Our policy will provide cheaper gas and create more jobs while protecting our environment and farmland. Our policy keeps Victoria’s fracking ban while securing the gas resources we need. A

This policy will help put the brakes on soaring gas prices that are currently hurting Victorian households and businesses. Our policy will provide cheaper gas and create more jobs while protecting our environment and farmland. Our policy keeps Victoria’s fracking ban while securing the gas resources we need. A

Our policy keeps Victoria’s fracking ban while securing the gas resources we need. A

A Liberal Nationals Government will legislate to allow onshore conventional gas exploration and production in Victoria on a case-by-case basis. Our policy will create a new royalty sharing scheme that will allow local landowners to benefit from gas produced from beneath their land. Landowners will receive a 10% share of the royalty paid to

Our policy will create a new royalty sharing scheme that will allow local landowners to benefit from gas produced from beneath their land. Landowners will receive a 10% share of the royalty paid to government of the net post-wellhead sales value of recovered gas.

The rights of landowners will be protected with a right of veto over conventional gas exploration and production on their land.

The Liberal Nationals continue to support the ban on fracking and coal seam gas exploration and production in Victoria to protect our farmland and our water supplies.

The Liberal Nationals will also introduce a domestic gas policy that ensures new gas discoveries are for the benefit of Victorians. Our onshore gas policy complements our position on renewable energy and provides a clear alternative to Daniel Andrews’ reckless, go-it-alone VRET of 40% by 2025.

A combination of decisions by Daniel Andrews has contributed to the sky-rocketing costs of electricity and gas.

The Andrews Labor Government’s ideological decision to triple the taxes on Victorian brown coal and pursue a go-it-alone 40% Victorian Renewable Energy Target, as well as banning all new sources of conventional onshore gas, has set off a chain reaction that led to the sudden closure of the Hazelwood power station, massive increases in energy prices and a dependence on Tasmania and New South Wales for reliable electricity. 

The conventional gas industry has successfully existed in Victoria for decades and together with Victoria’s world-class brown coal reserves, has previously been responsible for our state’s position as Australia’s lowcost energy power house. Allowing the private sector to locate new sources of gas will help to bring more supply into the Victorian energy market and reduce cost pressures. Victorians will have a clear choice on energy policy at the next election. It will be a choice between Daniel Andrews’ energy policies that

Allowing the private sector to locate new sources of gas will help to bring more supply into the Victorian energy market and reduce cost pressures. Victorians will have a clear choice on energy policy at the next election. It will be a choice between Daniel Andrews’ energy policies that

Victorians will have a clear choice on energy policy at the next election. It will be a choice between Daniel Andrews’ energy policies that

It will be a choice between Daniel Andrews’ energy policies that puts Greens voters first or the Liberal Nationals’ policies that will put Victorians first. 

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New portfolio elevates country Victoria

Monday 25 September 2017

Country Victoria is at the heart of the Liberal Nationals plan to better manage our population and grow our whole state – not just Melbourne.

The Liberal Nationals strongly believe a whole-of-government approach is integral to delivering the best outcome for rural and regional Victoria and our new Shadow Minister for Decentralisation portfolio is key to delivering for those communities

As Shadow Minister for Decentralisation, I will work closely with Liberal Party Leader Matthew Guy, in his role of Shadow Minister for Population, to develop a population policy for Victoria which includes maximum benefit and opportunity for regional communities.

More than 90 per cent of the people who move to our state each year move to Melbourne, but the Andrews Labor Government has no plan to manage this growth and regional Victoria is missing out as a direct result of Labor’s incompetence.

Under Labor, country roads have been left to crumble, and skyrocketing energy costs and other cost of living pressures are making it harder to do business and causing job losses across regional Victoria.

Victorians will have a clear choice at the next election.  A choice between the Liberal Nationals team that is focused and united on the issues that matter like jobs, cost of living and regional connectivity, or a Labor administration preoccupied with factional fights and rorting the taxpayer. 

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Labor still not prepared to put East Gippsland jobs first

Wednesday 20 September 2017

The Heyfield mill might be open, but the Andrews Labor Government continues to refuse to guarantee 250 jobs will remain at the mill.

Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh and The Nationals Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull have called on Daniel Andrews to urgently reassure mill workers and the Heyfield community that all remaining jobs are safe.

Mr Walsh said the mill also needed certainty past the current three-year contract offer.

“While it is a relief for the Heyfield community that the mill won’t close, it is cold comfort when Daniel Andrews’ decisions brought the mill to its knees in the first place,” Mr Walsh said.

“Labor must guarantee mill workers and the community there will be no job losses and that the mill has a future beyond the current three-year contract.

“The Premier for Melbourne still hasn’t set foot in Heyfield, most likely too ashamed because locals know he’s put Greens preferences and his own job ahead of mill workers’ jobs and this community.”

Asked in Parliament about the cost to taxpayers, Special Minister for State Gavin Jennings, who led the transition process, refused to admit the price of the deal.

He would only say the Government had a “controlling share” of the mill.

Mr Bull said the community wanted to know what stake the Government had in the mill and if all remaining jobs would still be retained after one shift of more than 20 had already been lost.

“Rather than do more press conferences from the steps of Spring Street, the Government should travel down to Heyfield and address our concerns,” Mr Bull said.

“It was absolutely galling to hear a senior Labor Minister claim today it was a ‘unilateral decision of the owners to walk away from the mill’.

“The Heyfield mill was forced towards closure by the Andrews Labor Government’s refusal to guarantee timber supply because they are scared of losing inner-city seats to the Greens at next year’s election.

“The mill didn’t need new owners, it needed a government prepared to put East Gippsland jobs first.”