Victoria Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu
Coalition Supports Victoria’s Young Farmers
Victor P Taffa
Support for Victoria’s young farmers groups will be revived under a Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Government.
Addressing the Royal Agricultural Society at the Melbourne Show today, Coalition Leader Ted Baillieu announced a $1 Million commitment over four years to reinvigorate the Victorian Young Farmers.
“A Coalition Government will seek to arrest the flow of young people forced to leave traditional farming backgrounds due to economic and social difficulties.” Mr. Baillieu said.
“We will reinstate funding for the Victorian Young Farmers by providing $250,000 a year over four years for secretarial support and create a unit within the Department of Primary Industries to promote opportunities for young people to expand their agricultural knowledge overseas.”
“A Coalition Government will actively encourage Victoria’s young men and women to pursue a future in the food and fibre industry.”
Mr. Baillieu said Young Farmers had almost folded after Labor axed funding shortly after it came to government in 1999.
“Young Farmers received annual core funding from successive Victorian governments for 35 years.” Mr. Baillieu said.
“In 2000 Labor changed the funding criteria, withdrawing operational support and almost sending the group to the wall.”
“A Coalition Government will revitalise this network for young people in rural Victoria by helping the group to apply for project funding and expand its membership.” Mr. Baillieu said.
Mr. Baillieu said Young Farmers, which was formed in 1947 with the support of the Royal Agricultural Society, had about 140 Clubs and 6,000 Members at its peak.
“The group brings together young rural-based men and women and provides them with access to support networks, mentoring opportunities and leadership development.” Mr. Baillieu said.
“Today, a lack of support has seen membership dwindle to just 6 Groups across the State and Several Hundred Members.”
Mr. Baillieu said a Coalition Government would also establish a unit within the Department of Primary Industries to help co-ordinate an international exchange program for food and fibre producers under 25 years of age.
“Young farmers might go to America to follow the grain harvest, Europe to work on a dairy farm or Chile to work in the wine industry.”
“The unit will help contribute to the state’s skill and knowledge base and ensure Victorian producers are at the forefront of international practices.” Mr. Baillieu said.