Victoria Shadow Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan
VIC Coalition Will Back Food And Fibre Marketing Co-Operatives
Victor P Taffa
A Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Government will increase the marketing power of local food and fibre producers by supporting the establishment of marketing co-operatives, Shadow Minister for Regional and Rural Development and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan announced today.
Mr. Ryan, who made the announcement while visiting the Pyrenees Hay Processors Co-operative in Avoca, said the Coalition would provide $5 Million in seed funding in its first term to assist groups of food and fibre producers who wanted to establish marketing co-operatives.
“Under a Coalition Government producers will be able to apply to the Department of Primary Industries for grants of up to $50,000 to pay for the legal costs associated with establishing a co-operative.” Mr. Ryan said.
“The establishment of these food and fibre marketing co-operatives will be a major step in developing local collectives to drive producers’ marketing power. This policy will put locals first by giving producers more collective power to compete and giving local communities a greater opportunity to buy local.”
“Farmers will have opportunities to develop new markets for their produce while consumers will have more choice.”
Mr. Ryan said food and fibre producers would be given support from specialist teams within the Department of Primary Industries to help producers improve their skills and opportunities.
“A Coalition Government will also seek to cut through any red tape impeding the operations of marketing co-operatives.” Mr. Ryan said.
“These measures will provide Victoria’s food and fibre producers with the confidence and expertise they need to pursue marketing opportunities in both the domestic and international markets.”
“Our plan will also provide significant gains for the consumer by restoring greater choice to the market.” Mr. Ryan said.
“Many Victorians want to purchase locally-grown produce but with an increasing number of imports and the power of the major chain stores, it is not always possible.”
The Nationals Candidate for Ripon Wendy McIvor said under Premier John Brumby, farmers had to pursue marketing opportunities in isolation and they had little bargaining power when dealing with international trading companies.
“Instead of offering farmers the support they need to sell their produce beyond the farm gate, the Brumby Government has strangled them with regulations and red tape.” Ms. McIvor said.
“The Coalition believes the survival and growth of our food and fibre industry is dependent upon the development of marketing opportunities and we will assist producers expand these opportunities wherever possible.” Ms. McIvor said.