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Giant Murray Cod

Media Releases

Coalition funds fish motels at Boga and Kangaroo lakes

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Around 100 man-made timber ‘fish motels’ are being installed in Kangaroo Lake and Lake Boga as part of a $262,500 project to enhance native fish habitat and improve recreational fishing opportunities.
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, and Member for Swan Hill, Peter Walsh said the specially-designed timber structures, which mimic the natural habitat provided by submerged trees, would create new homes for golden perch and Murray cod.
“The Victorian Coalition Government stocks both species into these lakes to improve fishing opportunities so it is important we ensure they have the right habitat in which to shelter and feed,” Mr Walsh said.
“As both lakes are water storages for irrigation, they lack woody habitat. Through this project up to 44 timber structures – also known as ‘snags’ – will be installed in the southern part of Kangaroo Lake, while a further 50 will be installed in the middle of Lake Boga.”
Mr Walsh said the habitat project had been funded by fishing licence fees and the Coalition Government’s $16 million Recreational Fishing Initiative.
“The Coalition Government understands the importance of recreational fishing to Victoria and the social and economic contribution it makes to regional communities, including Kerang and Swan Hill,” Mr Walsh said.
“We introduced the Recreational Fishing Initiative to improve fishing opportunities across the state.It has funded boating facility upgrades, more fish stockings, new fish cleaning tables, the installation of fishing reefs into bays and inlets, and increased fisheries education.
“The Napthine Coalition Government has done more to improve recreational fishing in three and-a-half years than Labor achieved in more than a decade.”
The habitat project at Lake Boga and Kangaroo Lake was developed in consultation with angling and community groups to ensure the structures do not impact adversely on other recreational users of the lakes.
“All of the snag sites will be marked with navigation buoys clearly visible above the surface of the water so boating and skiing will not be impacted,” Mr Walsh said.
“The effectiveness of the structures will also be carefully monitored and will help inform other lake-based fish habitat restoration projects.”

Coalition building a busier beekeeping industry

Wednesday, August 20, 2014
The Victorian Coalition Government is providing a further boost to the state’s honey bee industry with the introduction of the Primary Industries Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 into Parliament today.
Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh said the Bill included a number of changes to the Livestock Disease Control Act 1994 that would complement measures already undertaken through the Coalition Government’s Putting the buzz back into agriculture initiative.
The changes will:
· Reduce annual beekeeping registration to every two years, meaning less red tape for beekeepers;
· Include a member of the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) on the Apicultural Industry Advisory Committee, to provide greater expertise on the importance of beekeeping to the state’s horticultural sectors; and
· Improve biosecurity by allowing inspectors to destroy equipment that is illegally placed or suspected of disease without requiring written approval below a value of $12,000, increased from $3,000.
“The honey bee industry makes a vital contribution to the production of bee pollination dependent crops and to Victoria’s economy, through the delivery of commercial pollination services,” Mr Walsh said.
“For example, the $500 million almond industry in Australia relies on honey bee pollination – without it, almond flowers will not set nuts.
“Putting the buzz back into agriculture was introduced by the Coalition Government in 2011 and included $250,000 to quickly detect and respond to the presence of varroa mite should it ever arrive in Victoria, and funding to reinstate ‘lost’ public land apiary sites.
“The Coalition Government is committed to building more productive agricultural industries in Victoria and these changes will help achieve this by providing valuable support to our beekeeping industry,” Mr Walsh said.

Awards celebrate leading science researchers

Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Victoria’s reputation for excellence in science was confirmed today at the 2014 Department of environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) Science Awards at Parliament House.
Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh said the awards recognised the talented and dedication within DEPI and Victoria’s agricultural and environmental science communities.
“DEPI relies on science to deliver innovation, economic growth, environmental protection and emergency management. Science is an investment in our future,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is particularly focused on investing in research, development and extension programs to enable farmers to double food and fibre production by 2030 – a goal that many of these award winners are helping to achieve.”
The 2014 Science Award winners are:
Hugh McKay Partnership Award – DEPI’s Beef and Sheep Networks, led by veterinarian Dr John Webb Ware, have increased the profitability and sustainability of livestock enterprises across Victoria.
Daniel McAlpine Science Award – DEPI’s EverGraze project, led by Dr Ralph Brehrendt, has helped 4,400 producers nationally to improve sustainability through the use of perennial pastures since 2004.
David Ashton Environmental Science Award – DEPI’s Native Fish Strategy, led by John Koehn, is helping restore native fish to 60 per cent of pre-settlement levels in the Murray- Darling Basin.
Inaugural Emergency Management Award – DEPI’s response, led by John Barker, to eradicate an incursion of Northern Pacific Seastar at Tidal River in 2012.
Nancy Mills Postgraduate Thesis Award – Dr Tony Slater for research that will accelerate the process for breeding new potato cultivars to help protect production from disease.
Samuel Wadham Practice Change Award – DEPI’s BetterBeef Network, led by Darren Hickey, has enabled over 5,000 participants to improve productivity since 2011.
For more information on the awards and winners go to www.depi.vic.gov.au/scienceawards

New hay processor creates jobs for Bridgewater

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
A new specialist hay processing and export facility in Bridgewater will create 15 new jobs and inject $700,000 a year into the local economy, Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh announced today.
Visiting Bridgewater with Nationals candidate for Ripon Scott Turner, Mr Walsh said Hay Australia Pty Ltd would expand its operations to Victoria from Western Australia by investing at least $4 million into the new hay processing and export facility.
The Victorian Coalition Government is investing $300,000 in the project, which includes funding infrastructure at the site such as electricity, water and road access.
“The Coalition Government is committed to supporting the growth of agriculture and the growth of regional Victorian communities,” Mr Walsh said.
“This is in stark contrast to the Labor Party, which fails to understand agriculture and is yet to even release its agriculture policy.
“This development will be a significant economic boost for the Bridgewater area. It will create 15 jobs in manufacturing and agriculture, and will inject an additional $700,000 per year in wages and salaries into the local economy.
“Once the processing facility is complete, up to 60,000 tonnes of hay will be exported each year – with an estimated value of up to $20 million per year.”
Mr Turner said the Bridgewater project was being funded through the Coalition Government’s regional investment program Industries for Today and Tomorrow, which was designed to facilitate the development of regionally-based businesses with high growth potential.
“The Coalition Government is committed to promoting growth across regional Victoria by supporting projects such as this, which attract new investment and create new jobs and exports,” Mr Turner said.
“The project is an example of the Napthine Coalition Government working with industry to build a better regional Victoria – attracting new investment, creating jobs and growing exports.”

300000 foxes eradicated under Coalition bounty

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
More than 300,000 foxes have been eradicated under the Victorian Coalition Government’s bounty program, with more than $3 million now paid out to hunters.
Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh said the 300,000th fox scalp was submitted to the Warrnambool collection centre last week, less than three years since the bounty was introduced.
“The Coalition Government understands the financial and emotional toll foxes and wild dogs take on Victorian livestock producers and we are committed to helping reduce their numbers,” Mr Walsh said.
“Our fox and wild dog bounty is making a real difference for producers, with 300,000 fewer foxes now roaming Victoria’s landscape. This is compared with the former Labor government’s Fox Stop program, which eradicated just 20,034 foxes in three years.
“The bounty of $10 per fox scalp and $100 per wild dog skin not only aims to compensate hunters for their efforts, but also recognises their important contribution to controlling these vicious and damaging pests. The only good fox is a dead fox.”
Mr Walsh said the 300,000th fox scalp was submitted by Portland hunter Garry Wombwell last Wednesday, who handed in 261 fox scalps at Warrnambool and a total of 512 since the bounty began in October 2011.
Mr Wombwell has been hunting foxes for 30 years and handed in the scalps on behalf of a small group of local shooters. He said the program was a great incentive for local shooters to reduce the fox population and help promote the survival of native wildlife.
“Anything to control the fox is a good thing. You can see how many are around and you have to do everything you can – poison, the bounty and recreational shooting – to help control them,” Mr Wombell said.
Mr Walsh said the Coalition Government was committed to an integrated approach to fox and wild dog control which included a combination of baiting, trapping and shooting.
“After years of Labor neglect, the Coalition Government is taking real action to control fox numbers and build stronger farming communities,” Mr Walsh said.
For more information on the fox and wild dog bounty, visit www.depi.vic.gov.au/bounty

Grains industry to reap long-term research benefits

Monday, July 28, 2014
Victorian grain growers are set to benefit from a new five year agreement that will increase innovative research and development (R&D) in their industry.
Australian Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, and Victorian Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, Peter Walsh, announced the bilateral agreement today between the Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC) and the Victorian Government’s Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI).
“GRDC and DEPI will work together over the next five years on grains research and development, and focus on building a skilled workforce and providing grain growers with on-the-ground research that will help them in the future,” Minister Joyce said.
“Research is a priority for me – we know there is a strong link between R&D and agricultural productivity growth, and recognise research is a key driver to industry and farmgate profitability.
This agreement heralds cooperation that will ensure maximum returns from the $60 million in investments made by the two organisations.
“The grains industry is one of Australia’s most important agricultural sectors, with our wheat exports in 2012–13 worth around $6.7 billion, canola exports in 2012–13 worth around $2.0 billion and barley exports in the same year worth around $1.6 billion.
“This agreement will build on the grains industries’ long-term capacity for research and enhance future infrastructure. It’s not just Victoria that will benefit from this partnership – the whole Australian grains industry will also reap the benefits,” Minister Joyce said.
Minister Walsh said the Victorian Coalition Government was committed to working with industry and co-funding strategic research that will accelerate productivity growth in the grains sector and boost the profitability of growers.
“At $2.2 billion, the grains industry was Victoria’s most valuable agricultural export earner for 2012-13 but there is capacity to grow value and volume if we are smart about strategic investment in productivity-focused R&D,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Victorian Coalition Government has set a target of doubling agricultural production across Victoria by 2030 which we believe is achievable if we work in partnership with industry on targeted R&D.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is also helping the grains sector make the most of expanding export opportunities in markets like Asia and the Middle East through our $100 million Food to Asia Action Plan and our $50 million International Engagement Strategy.
“Our partnership with GRDC is a significant commitment to a range of research programs that align to Victoria’s leadership role in the Grain Industry National Research, Development and Extension Strategy,” Mr Walsh said.
These programs include research into improving pulse quality, pre-breeding and agronomy, crop pathology and biosecurity, improved cropping systems for high rainfall zone and climate adaptation, and the Australian Grains Genebank at Horsham.
Each year, the GRDC, which is an Australian Government statutory corporation, coordinates and invests a grower levy and Australian Government funding in research and development for the benefit of all stakeholders in the grains industry and the community at large.

New habitat to boost Pyramid Creek fish population

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Pyramid Creek will become a haven for native fish with the installation of new in-stream habitat, Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh announced today.
Mr Walsh said logs, or ‘snag’ piles, would be placed in the creek by the North Central Catchment Management Authority to provide native fish with shelter from fast currents and predators, as well as sites for feeding and spawning.
“This project is a step towards transforming the waterway into a key pathway during fish migration, and will boost the permanent population of native fish,” Mr Walsh said.
“This work is being funded by $60,000 from the Victorian Coalition Government’s Recreational Fishing Grants Program, which invests fishing licence fees directly back into improving angling opportunities across the state.
“The Coalition Government recognises the significant social and economic contribution of recreational fishing to the state and we want to support and grow fishing opportunities for the families and individuals who wet a line each year.”
Member for Rodney Paul Weller said projects such as this were complemented by the Coalition Government’s $16 million Recreational Fishing Initiative.
“The Initiative funds projects to stock more fish, improve access and facilities, install fish cleaning tables, improve fish passage, undertake more research and strengthen fisheries enforcement and education,” Mr Weller said.
“The Coalition Government has done more to improve recreational fishing in Victoria in three and a half years than the previous Labor government achieved in a decade.”
Work to install the snags will begin later this month. Mid-Northern Angling Club Secretary Alan Digby said he was keen to see the outcome.
“Anglers will tell you you’re most likely to get a bite within a metre or so of a snag, so it’s great to see this work happening. It’s delivering benefits to the environment and to our pastime,” Mr Digby said.

Fishing Forums To Reel In Anglers Ideas

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Recreational anglers can learn more about their local fisheries and share ideas about improving fishing opportunities at roundtable forums across Victoria, Minister for Agriculture and Food Security and Nationals Member for Swan Hill, Peter Walsh, said today.
Mr Walsh said the Napthine Government was building better recreational fishing infrastructure throughout Victoria, investing in almost 100 projects to improve access and facilities through its $16 million Recreational Fishing Initiative.
“A key component of the Recreational Fishing Initiative is to strengthen engagement with fishers, whether they be bait-anglers in our bays and inlets, fly-fishers in our lakes and rivers, or spear-fishers off the coast,” he said.
“The forums provide anglers with the chance to have their say about how best to grow recreational fishing.
“They are also an opportunity for fisheries managers to inform anglers about projects that Fisheries Victoria is undertaking to improve fishing in our waterways, including research findings, new regulations, fish stockings and new facilities.
“These ideas from grass-root anglers are often the first step towards developing new projects that deliver significant benefits to recreational fishers and the regional businesses that depend on them.”
“We want anglers to share their project ideas so that wetting a line close to home is easier, safer and more enjoyable for beginners, experts and families,” Mr Walsh said.
A forum will be held in Bendigo on August 6 at the Gateway Rotary Park, 26 High St Kangaroo Flat starting at 7pm.
The Recreational Fishing Initiative has also funded extensive fish stocking activities during 2014, with 2,168,745 native fish and 620,000 Salmonids placed in key Victorian waters.
Over 26,000 advanced, ready to fish rainbow trout were released into family fishing waters in preparation for the recent school holidays.
For more information on the upcoming forums, visit www.depi.vic.gov.au/fishforums2014

Victoria to gain as Asias largest food company expands

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
The Victorian Coalition Government’s trade and investment strategy has encouraged a major global food company to choose Melbourne for the first of up to 500 Thai restaurants planned across Australia.
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh officially has tonight opened 1000Wat in Emporium Melbourne, the first Australian restaurant owned and operated by Thai-owned Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF).
“The Victorian Coalition Government welcomes this new investment from CPF, which is already a major buyer of fresh and processed foods from Victoria for its global businesses,” Mr Walsh said.
“CPF imports around $100 million of fresh and processed Australian foods, of which 40-50 per cent is from Victoria, and the company expects to double its Australian investments over the next five years.” Mr Walsh said.
“Expansion plans include opening between 200 and 500 restaurants across the country, including more here in Victoria.
CPF is part of the CP Group, Thailand’s largest agriculture-based company with a global turnover of around $40 billion and operations in Asia, Europe, North America, the Middle as well as Australia.
“Investment in Victoria’s food sector from major global companies such as CPF is significant because it boost the state’s economy and supports jobs, and it also increases demand for Victoria’s high quality fresh produce,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is committed to increasing the productivity and profitability of our farmers, and we are focused on building new opportunities for Victorian food businesses through our $100 million Food into Asia Action Plan and our $50 International Engagement Strategy.”
Mr Walsh met with CPF executives in Bangkok during the Government’s Super Trade Mission to South East Asia last month.

Skills Investment To Drive Growth In Loddon Mallee

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Victorian Government has invested $150,000 through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund to address a skills shortage in the Loddon Mallee agri-food sector.
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security and Nationals Member for Swan Hill Peter Walsh made the announcement today in Cohuna.
Mr Walsh said developing the skills of workers in the area of agricultural production for food was vital to the further growth of the sector and the Loddon Mallee region.
Mr Walsh said the $150,000 in Government funding would be provided through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund to Agrifood Skills Australia which would contribute $472,000.
“This investment will support the work of the Building Skills in the Loddon Mallee Agrifood Sector Project to drive skills development across the agri-food industry,” Mr Walsh said.
“The technical skills addressed by the program include advanced boom spray operation, header/chaser bin operation and grain storage.
“The specially designed Relief Milker program will help address skills shortages in the dairy sector.”
The Nationals Member for Rodney Paul Weller has welcomed today’s announcement.
“It is vital that we continue to invest in the skills base of local workers to ensure that our agricultural sector remains sustainable now and into the future,” he said.
“This project made possible through the Regional Growth Fund is another example of what The Nationals can achieve as part of a Coalition Government.”
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said the Regional Growth Fund was investing in community-led projects to strategically drive jobs, investment and innovation in rural and regional Victoria.
Across the Loddon Mallee, the Regional Growth Fund had provided more than $84 million to 230 projects, leveraging more than $353 million in total investment.


Contact: Electorate Office: 274 Campbell Street SWAN HILL Vic 3585 Phone: (03) 5032 3154 Fax: (03) 5032 9483