WITH only four months until the state election, the Coalition has made a range of election pledges to provide a “better deal for agriculture”.
Pledges include the establishment of a $40 million Food and Fibre Exports program, the creation of a weeds and pest animals taskforce and a $5.3 million investment for a Growth, Adoption, Production and Profitability program.
The pledges come after Opposition Leader Matthew Guy announced at the Victorian Farmers Federation conference that a dedicated Victoria Police Livestock and Rural Crime Squad would be established under a Liberal Nationals government.
Member for Lowan Emma Kealy said the proposed Food and Fibre program would help western Victorian farmers and producers get their products into Asian markets.
“There’s a huge opportunity for our clean, green, premium quality local produce to fill growing demand for food and fibre in the Asian markets,” she said.
“A Liberal Nationals Government will boost investment and ensure Victoria’s food and fibre export strategy addresses key drivers including market access, research and development, reducing red tape and infrastructure investment.”
She said the Coalition’s proposed weeds and pest animals taskforce would help bolster control efforts.
“When not properly controlled weeds and pest animals like rabbits strangle productivity and choke back yields,” she said.
“It is frustrating and a huge expense for our farmers when they invest time and money to stamp out weeds on their own property, only to have the weeds invade again because their neighbours don’t comply with the law.
“Weeds don’t respect property boundaries and the Liberal Nationals $6.88 million commitment over four years will support farmers who do the right thing by bolstering their control efforts and properly enforcing Victorian laws.”
Ms Kealy said the proposed Growth, Adoption, Production and Profitability – or GAPP – program would aim to put farmers in touch with the latest innovations in agriculture.
“We want to help our farmers boost productivity by integrating new technologies and practices into their business and that’s exactly what the GAPP program will do,” she said.
The state election will be held on November 24.