Victoria Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh
AG Slumps Over Brumby’s Water Plan
Victor P Taffa
Victorian Agriculture is bearing the brunt of the Brumby Government’s arrogant water policies, according to Victoria Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh.
Mr. Walsh said data released by ABS today showed the value of Victorian agriculture declined by more than 14 % last year.
“From June 2008 to June 2009, the value of Victoria’s agricultural commodities slumped by almost $1.7 Billion.” Mr. Walsh said.
“Milk production alone has dropped by $766.6 Million (21.5%), while Hay production has declined by $481.4 Million (36%) and Eggs by $17.1 Million (12.8%).
“It’s obvious from these figures that Victorian producers are suffering badly.”
Mr. Walsh said while drought and fluctuating commodity prices were undoubtedly a factor in the decline, producers had weathered such problems before.
“The reality is the Brumby Government’s water policies are having a negative impact on the viability of Victorian agriculture.” Mr. Walsh said.
“The impact of the government’s policies is highlighted by the fact that agricultural commodities across Australia declined by just 5 %.”
“Producers have been left questioning their future and the Brumby Government’s commitment to food production.”
“The North-South pipeline, the decision to unbundle water rights and lift trading protections has seen huge amounts of water leave the northern Victorian food bowl.” Mr. Walsh said.
“By 2015, more than half of high security water right in northern Victoria will be traded away from food production as a result of these decisions.”
“The government’s rationalisation of irrigation infrastructure will also see 60 % of Goulburn-Murray Water’s irrigation system shut down.”
Mr. Walsh said the effects of Labor’s water policies were particularly evident in the dairy industry.
“Just last week Murray Goulburn announced the closure of its cheese factory in Leitchville due to declining milk production.” Mr. Walsh said.
“John Brumby must accept that he can have the region’s food or its water. The figures show that he cannot have both.”
Clearly the total inaction by the Brumby Government towards improving the flow and water quality of the Murray River is hurting Victorian Agriculture severely.