RUN down transport infrastructure is a key issue facing Australia's new Agriculture Minister, according to the head of the state's farming body.
Victorian Farmers Federation president David Jochinke, of Murra Warra, welcomed David Littleproud's installation as Agriculture Minister, saying he understood the sector.
Mr Littleproud took on the agriculture portfolio this week, remaining Drought and Emergency Management Minister.
He was previously Agriculture and Water Resource Minister between December 2017 and May 2019.
Mr Jochinke said an experienced minister meant farmers could start conversations about future needs straight away.
"We don't have to either highlight the key issues and drivers of them, they already intrinsically know what some of the key issues are," he said.
Mr Jochinke said infrastructure updates and continued investment in research to make plants more robust in dry conditions were the two key issues for central Victoria.
[What] these production systems require needs to be done within this term of government to ensure the survival of the next generation of farmer.David Jochinke
He said transport infrastructure across Australia was "crippling", and costing a lot when moving grain.
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Mr Jochinke said current rail infrastructure management was based on a risk-based or failure-based approach, meaning it was run down. He said he would like transport systems to reduce reliance on vehicles, so farmers could use more rail for port.
Mr Jochinke said he would like to see Mr Littleproud take a stand on climate policy, but addressing more than just carbon reduction. He said reducing consumption and considering the whole life of a product were also important.
Mr Jochinke said many of these agricultural issues were pressing.
"We don't have a lot of time, we don't have a lot of opportunity to get these issues right," Mr Jochinke said.
"[What] these production systems require needs to be done within this term of government to ensure the survival of the next generation of farmer."
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