Member for Western Victoria, Gayle Tierney today welcomed more assistance for Western Victorian farmers with the release of the Brumby Government’s $205 million Future Farming strategy.
Ms Tierney said the centrepiece of the strategy was the biggest boost to agricultural research and development in at least a decade and improved delivery of information to farmers.
“New generations of crops resistant to drought, cold and salt will be developed, and plant and animal disease control will be improved,” Ms Tierney said.
“This will help make farms in Western Victoria more productive as our farmers use the latest technology to implement best farm practices.”
Victoria’s Agriculture Minister Joe Helper said he was delighted to deliver the Future Farming strategy.
“This will fulfil one of the Brumby Government’s highest priorities – to enable farming families, businesses and communities to thrive in the face of change,” Mr Helper said.
Ms Tierney particularly welcomed initiatives directly assisting Western Victorian farms including:
– $8.57 million over four years to ensure dairy farmers have the information and technology they need to boost annual industry productivity growth to three per cent, through the application of new techniques in areas such as water-use efficiency and agronomic management.
– Investing in a new National Centre for Farmer health in Hamilton to improve the health and wellbeing of farm workers and their families.
– Measures to increase skills and attract young people to farming, including a boost to regional education and training opportunities related to farming and its support industries through:
1. new trade wings at secondary colleges for trades in short supply in Victoria’s primary industries;
2. continued investment in regional TAFE institutes and expansion of courses to overcome skill shortages, and
3. opening Victoria’s third Rural Learning Campus with a focus on agricultural studies later this year to cater for 45 students at Glenormiston.
Other initiatives that will assist all Victorian farms including the Western Victoria include:
– $42.7 million to further upgrade the rail freight network, including extra funding for maintenance and major upgrades of grain freight lines including Korong Vale – Quambatook, Korong Vale – Charlton, Murtoa – Warracknabeal, Shepparton – Tocumwal, Swan Hill – Piangil, and Mildura – Yelta. This builds on $133.8 million investment by the Brumby Government last year to buy back the rail network, the $73 million upgrade of the Mildura line, the Dynon Port Rail link and the recently upgraded Dunolly – Korong Vale and Echuca – Barnes rail lines.
– $20 million more funding to tackle weeds and pests, including support for councils in Western Victoria to manage roadside weeds and more effective control of weeds and pests on public land by expanding the Government’s Good Neighbour Program.
– $4.87 million to provide a high accuracy global positioning system (GPS) to enable more precise farming practices. More than 70 base stations will be added to the 30 existing base stations to improve positioning accuracy from 10-20 metres to a potential 2cm across Victoria.
– $4.05 million to help the aquaculture sector to develop, capture emerging opportunities and manage the impacts of climate change.
– Improved animal management by developing a Livestock Management Bill, validating the operation of the national standards and protecting compliant farm businesses from intrusions that jeopardise the integrity of their biosecurity systems.
– $3 million over four years for a targeted program to improve biosecurity and market access for a number of Victoria’s grape-growing regions that currently have an unknown phylloxera status. The wine growing areas will be surveyed for phylloxera to enable these to be declared as phylloxera exclusion zones.
– $1.08 million to help develop the Victorian organic farming sector.
For more information on Future Farming visit www.dpi.vic.gov.au/futurefarming