Victoria Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh
Jennings Gets Dirty Over Landcare
Victor P Taffa
64 And Counting-Another Lame Imitation Of Coalition Policy By Labor
The Brumby Government cannot be trusted to deliver on Landcare, Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said today.
Mr. Walsh said Environment Minister Gavin Jennings had a terribly poor memory after deriding the Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition’s $12 Million commitment to the volunteer conservation group as a ‘bogus environmental election pledge’.
“Labor’s latest adopted policy has left Gavin Jennings embarrassingly red faced.” Mr. Walsh said.
“The Minister went on a shrill smear campaign last month in an attempt to discredit the Coalition’s $12 Million commitment to Landcare.”
“At the time Gavin Jennings accused the Coalition of ‘dodgy costings’ which he said had a ‘funding black hole of $12 million’ and would ‘pay only half-wages or less.”
“Embarrassingly, he today announced a $9.9 Million package that falls more than $2 Million short of our commitment.” Mr. Walsh said.
“The Minister expects that funding, which by his calculations is $14 Million short of what is needed, not just to guarantee those co-ordinator positions, but also to attract new volunteers and increase participation.”
Mr. Walsh said the Coalition had announced it would provide $12 Million to fund up to 75 % of the salaries of 60 Landcare co-ordinators across Victoria, after the Rudd Government slashed the organisation’s funding.
“The role of Landcare co-ordinators in providing expertise in project funding applications, advice on project development and support for groups in management, communication and administration is vital.” Mr. Walsh said.
“Unlike Labor which has promised to fund Landcare out of regional development funds, our commitment is in addition to the $1 Billion Regional Growth Fund we will establish if elected.”
Mr. Walsh said the Brumby Government’s record on Landcare spoke for itself.
“Premier John Brumby stood by and did nothing while Labor slashed the number of Landcare support staff in Victoria from more than 140 in 2007-2008 to just 35 at the end of last year.” Mr. Walsh said.
“Today’s promise is nothing but a hollow grab for votes and one John Brumby cannot be trusted to deliver.”
“The Coalition’s pledge is a fully costed, long-term commitment which recognises the value of these Landcare positions.” Mr. Walsh said.