Victoria Minister for Agriculture and Food Security and Water Peter Walsh
Coalition Budget Backs Agriculture
Victor P Taffa
In challenging economic times the Victorian Coalition Government is strongly investing in key areas of infrastructure and frontline services supporting agriculture and our regional communities.
Agriculture and Food Security and Water Minister Peter Walsh said in the 2012-13 Budget the Coalition was delivering more for farming communities compared with Labor’s $205 Million Future Farming Strategy.
“On a like for like basis the Coalition is investing $213.6 Million over four years on agriculture, water, rural skills and export market facilitation compared with only $138.6 million under Labor’s Future Farming Strategy.” Mr. Walsh said.
“When you strip out the $66 Million of climate change, health and rail spending Labor used to prop up its Future Farming Strategy, it is clear the Coalition is delivering more to agriculture and the industries that keep regional Victoria strong.
“In supporting the dairy industry, our strongest agricultural sector, the Coalition is investing 66% more than Labor’s scheme, allocating $14.3 Million over four years to boost productivity and profitability compared with an $8.57 Million scheme in the Future Farming Strategy.
“Under their strategy, Labor allocated just $2.3 Million into changing irrigation practices over two years compared with an $8.7 Million four year investment to improve farmers’ water security in this budget.
“This comes on top of $55.7 Million over four years funding to improve water resource measurement underpinning sustainable water management in rural and regional Victoria. This includes working with farming landholders on waterway protection.”
Mr. Walsh said Labor’s paltry $308,000 Future Farming Strategy effort at boosting the skills of rural Victorians paled into insignificance compared with the $5 Million committed by the Coalition out of the Regional Growth Fund to improve year 12 retention rates in regional Victoria.
“The Government is also delivering $20 Million from the Regional Partnerships Facilitation Fund to increase the rate of higher education participation and attainment in regional Victoria.” Mr. Walsh said.
“We have also more than doubled the funding grants available to local government to control roadside weeds and rabbits, up to $7.9 Million over three years.”
Recognising the importance of market access to trade of agricultural and food exports, the Government is investing $50 Million over four years in the Victorian International Engagement Strategy. Agriculture will be a major beneficiary of that strategy.
From 1 July the Coalition will also deliver its $5 Million initiative to help local food and fibre producers establish marketing cooperatives to maximise the marketing potential of clean, fresh Victorian farm produce.
“The Coalition has delivered in challenging times.” Mr. Walsh said.