VICTORIA’S peak farming body has called on its State Government to match the welcomed Federal Budget with commitments to support the state’s farmers.
The Victorian Farmers Federation today said it welcomed the significant commitment to agriculture in the 2021 Federal Budget and said the Victorian Government must continue to support local farmers as attention turns to the upcoming State Budget.
VFF president Emma Germano said the Federal Budget was mostly good news for farmers with important investments in soil health, trade, biosecurity, infrastructure and farm businesses.
“It’s a step in the right direction after a tough 12 months.
“Agriculture has proven its resilience and it’s pleasing to see this support as we continue to play a major role in our COVID-19 economic fightback,” she said.
“Continuing the instant asset write-off to June 2023 is a proven winner for agriculture.”
“Farmers will welcome the $25 million in funding for the extension of the popular on-farm emergency water scheme, but for farmers to benefit the Victorian Government must match the federal funding.
“The $2 billion dollar commitment for a new Melbourne Intermodal Terminal and $17.5 million for Dairy Supply Chain roads and other road investments in Victoria will help upgrade and modernise our critical freight supply chains,” Ms Germano said.
“We welcome the Federal Government’s investment into agriculture and industry, but now the Victorian Government needs to come to the party.”
“Victorian agriculture is responsible for a quarter of all exports, employs more than 87 thousand people and is a delivers a huge $13 billion to our economy,” she said.
“We are a major economic contributor and it’s long overdue we received our fair-share.
“Whilst federal roads funding is welcome to help fix our crumbling roads, ultimately we need a significant commitment from the state,” Ms Germano said.
“The VFF is calling for a minimum of $650 million in the budget over the next four years for regional road asset maintenance and a further $200 million to reintroduce the Fixing Country Roads Program.”
Click here to read the VFF’s Victorian pre-Budget submission.
The VFF said the notable Federal Budget investments relevant to Victoria include funding for the Princes Highway East ($51.1 million), Western Port Highway ($30.4 million), Soil tests to underpin carbon and help farmers better understand and manage their soils, Princes Highway West (20.7 million), Melbourne to Mildura – Freight Priorities ($15 million) and the Mallacoota-Genoa Road Upgrade ($10 million).