REBATES of up to $5000 for infrastructure and equipment addressing health and safety risks will be available from the Victorian Government until 31 December this year.
Minister for Agriculture Mary-Anne Thomas launched the new $3 million Farm Safety Rebate Scheme at Noel and Lyndsay Henderson’s Avington Merino farm at Sidonia today.
Ms Thomas said farms are workplaces, but they’re also homes.
“We want to make sure that everyone that steps onto a farm gets to return home safely.”
“Too many people are killed or injured on farms each year,” she said.
“This new program is an easy way to make simple adjustments to farms so they’re safer, and workers can carry on with peace of mind.”
Despite having less than two percent of Victoria’s workforce, the agriculture sector accounts for 14pc of the state’s workplace deaths. The Victorian Government said the rebate scheme recognises that those at risk of injury or death on Victorian farms are not just farmers, but also families, employees, suppliers and contractors.
Some examples of equipment and infrastructure that are eligible for the rebate include child safety fencing, animal handling equipment, dedicated chemical storage sheds and wash stations, emergency shut off switches and reversing cameras for tractors and vehicles.
Farm safety is paramount at Avington Merino
Mr Henderson led a tour of the farm’s farm safety features in the woolshed which was built in 2011 and incorporates emergency power cut-offs in front of each shearing stand and internal overhead power supply. He said health and safety are components of the operation’s Responsible Wool Standard accreditation and this involved the induction of anyone visiting or working on the farm. Mr Henderson brought his regard for health and safety from his background in the construction industry. The farm’s sheep ramp was built with safety features that are now part of the Australian standards, he said.
“Agriculture is now coming into the spotlight because many industries have a very strong approach to health and safety.
“Any death is one too many and agriculture has a few problems that we need to address,” he said.
“I think this is a terrific initiative from the Andrews government to help farmers address farm safety by giving them the opportunity for a subsidy upfront.”
Minister for Workplace Safety Ingrid Stitt said lives are forever changed by workplace deaths and injury.
“That’s why we’re working to reach as many people as possible and change the attitudes around farm workplace safety.”
Rural Assistance Commissioner Peter Tuohey encouraged farmers to apply for the Farm Safety Rebate and take the opportunity to purchase and install safety infrastructure and equipment to make their farms safer for their workers, families and themselves.
The scheme is a key part of delivering Smarter, Safer Farms, the Labor Government’s $20 million commitment to improve safety and skills for Victorian farmers, and position agriculture as a career of choice.
The Farm Safety Rebate Scheme will close on 31 December 2021 or when all funds are allocated. Click here for more details, visit the Rural Finance website or call 1800 260 425.