GAYLE TIERNEY (Western Victoria – Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education, Minister for Agriculture) (12:13): Victoria’s world-class agriculture sector provides food, jobs and prosperity and underpins an export industry in food and drink which is renowned across the world. That is why we are committed to continued investment in the sector. We know how important agriculture is for all Victorians now and into the future. We understand the need to invest in new ideas and encourage and support entrepreneurs. We need them to explore new technologies that will benefit agricultural practices. A great example of this innovation is the work of Paul and James Diamond, members of a third-generation cattle property family in Goughs Bay, Victoria. Together with the help of government funding, they have developed a satellite mapping and farm safety app to help farmers better monitor farm activities.
By investing in projects like this, Victoria is well on its way to becoming a true ag tech powerhouse. That is why we have announced $1.3 million in grants funding, which includes $1 million for ag tech grants that will offer 20 emerging ag tech startups $50,000 to hone their work and skills to make the best possible impact. A further investment of $300,000 will be made to support the establishment of Victoria’s first dedicated ag tech angel network. This will help join the dots between ag tech startups, the private sector and of course government. Increased productivity and innovation in the sector are absolutely critical, and we are empowering our farmers and our regional communities because what they do is critical to all Victorians.