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Yarriambiack Creek

Media Releases

Local knowledge sought in fight against wild dogs

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
 · Community workshops seeking local input into wild dog management plans
· Ensuring local communities have their say on wild dog control in their area
· Victorian Coalition Government understands devastating impact of wild dogs
The Victorian Coalition Government will hold a series of community workshops in autumn to seek local input into the development of new Wild Dog Management Zone Work Plan.
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said the work plans were a key part of the Coalition Government’s Action Plan for Managing Wild Dogs in Victoria launched in December last year.
“Wild dogs have a devastating impact on farmers and communities, and the Victorian Coalition Government is committed to helping landholders control the vicious and destructive pests,” Mr Walsh said.
“As part of the action plan, local area work plans will be developed for each of the 15 wild dog management zones in East Gippsland and North East Victoria.
“The work plans will specify operational targets on both private and public land and will ensure a coordinated, integrated approach to wild dog management.
“Local communities will be provided an opportunity to contribute their knowledge and help guide the direction of their area’s plan during workshops in March and April.
“The workshops will also provide an opportunity for landholders to find out more about Community Wild Dog Control Groups and will help landholders complete native vegetation clearance consent forms for protecting dog fencing on public-private land boundaries.”
Mr Walsh said on top of increasing the effectiveness of trapping, the Action Plan for Managing Wild Dogs in Victoria also included an increase in the number of baits laid to almost 20,000 this year, commitments to improve access to fresh 1,080 baits and the removal of red tape hindering control efforts.
“Industry and government need to work together to reduce the impacts of wild dogs, using all available tools including trapping, baiting, shooting, exclusion fencing and good animal husbandry,” Mr Walsh said.
Dates and venues for the Wild Dog Management Zone Work Plan workshops will be advertised locally in coming weeks and are also available at www.depi.vic.gov.au/wdmzworkshops

World summit told of Victorian food export potential

Monday, February 24, 2014
· Minister makes lead international address at high-level summit
· International audience told of Victoria’s food and fibre export capability
· Victorian Coalition Government supporting farmers to meet growing demand
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh has delivered the lead international address at a high-level summit in the Middle East on the challenges of meeting global food security in the coming decades.
Speaking at the World Food Security Summit in Dubai as part of the Victorian Coalition Government's Super Trade Mission to the Middle East, Mr Walsh said Victoria's investment in the food and fibre sector would significantly enlarge its role in guaranteeing the region's food security.
Mr Walsh said Victoria's natural advantages and its focus on research, market development, infrastructure and freight logistics made it ideally placed to meet unprecedented demand from the Middle East and Asia.
"While food and agribusiness is Victoria's most valuable export sector, we are positioned to play an even greater role in meeting the region's food security requirements in the coming years and decades," Mr Walsh said.
"The Victorian Coalition Government is committed to playing a greater role in supplying food to the region and we are doing this in to two key ways.
"We are investing in research and development, in irrigation infrastructure and in our freight and logistics capabilities, with the aim of doubling production by 2030.
"We are also creating opportunities for Victorian businesses and helping them connect to markets throughout the Middle East, South East Asia and China and, importantly, to meet the specific needs of those markets.”
Mr Walsh told Summit delegates that Victoria was Australia's largest agricultural exporter and the nation's biggest food supplier to the Middle East and North Africa, having exported $1.25 billion of produce to the region in 2012-13.
Mr Walsh said Victoria was ideally positioned to substantially increase production thanks to its temperate climate, soil types, world class food safety and biosecurity systems, modern irrigation infrastructure and cutting edge agricultural science.
The World Food Security Summit was held as part of Gulfood, the world's largest food and hospitality trade fair, and was designed to explore ideas for achieving global food security in the face of rapid population growth and economic development.
Other keynote speakers included: the United Arab Emirates' Assistant Undersecretary for Agriculture Affairs, H.E. Engineer Saif Al-Shara; the Saskatchewan Minister of Agriculture in Canada, Lyle Stewart; and the Argentine Foreign Affairs Minister, Hector Timerman.
The Super Trade Mission to the Middle East, which is being led by Minister for Employment and Trade Louise Asher, comprises more than 100 Victorian companies, including 60 from the food and agribusiness sector.

Scallop license restarts sustainable niche industry

Friday, February 21, 2014
 · New fishery creates jobs and sustainable supply of Victorian scallops
· Vicfish has purchased licence to harvest scallops by hand
· Victorian Coalition Government supporting our commercial fishing sector
Victorian scallops could return to Melbourne markets following the auction of the single license for Port Phillip Bay’s new hand-harvest scallop fishery.
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said this was the first new wild catch fishery access license class to be established in Victoria since 2001 following a high level of interest over many years.
Vicfish Pty Ltd bought the license at public auction this week following an expressions of interest period.
“The new fishery will create business and employment opportunities and improve supply of sustainable, locally caught fresh scallops,” Mr Walsh said.
“To ensure a transparent and fair allocation across the range of interested parties, access to the fishery was allocated by auction. This is a first for Victorian commercial wild harvest fisheries, and a model which is consistent with other states.”
Last year’s three-month public consultation on the proposed new fishery received more than 120 submissions.
The new fishery will be managed under a conservative Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) and divers will only be allowed to collect scallops by hand.
“Careful consideration has been made to protect the existing recreational scallop fishery in Port Phillip Bay, with the introduction of two scallop commercial fishing exclusion zones in areas important to recreational fishers,” Mr Walsh said.
“I look forward to watching this new, niche industry flourish, providing jobs and a sustainable supply of fresh Victorian scallops for years to come.”

2014 Hunting Guide packed with vital information

Friday, February 21, 2014

· Hunting Guide to be sent to all licensed game hunters
· Helping hunters to make the most of Victoria’s game hunting opportunities
· Victorian Coalition Government supports safe, responsible game hunting
Victorian game hunters will shortly receive their free annual Victorian Hunting Guide, which contains helpful information updated to reflect game hunting arrangements for the 2014 seasons.
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said the 2014 guide would be mailed to all 46,000 licensed hunters from this week.“The Victorian Coalition Government encourages our state’s licensed game hunters to make the most of Victoria’s opportunities to enjoy this recreational activity, which forms part of our heritage,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Hunting Guide includes valuable information on 2014 hunting seasons including bag limits, open season dates, where people can hunt, details about how to apply for a new Game Licence and messages about responsible hunting.
“It’s a great resource for all of Victoria’s duck, quail and deer hunters and provides a significant link between the industry, hunting organisations and government.”
Also included in this year’s guide is information on the Victorian Shotgunning Education Program one-day training sessions, designed to teach hunters how to be more efficient and reduce waterfowl wounding.
“The training day focuses on improving shooting skills, pattern testing, distance estimation and retrieval skills and is available to all hunters,” Mr Walsh said.
The Hunting Guide will be mailed to all licensed hunters prior to the start of the upcoming duck season which opens on Saturday 15 March and closes on Monday 9 June.
Hard copies of the guide can also be obtained from Department of Environment Primary Industries (DEPI) offices or by ringing the DEPI Customer Service Centre on 136 186.
The guide is also available online at http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/game-hunting.
DEPI’s Game Hunting Victoria smart phone application has also been updated with all the latest hunting information.

Swan Hill Region Farming Families in Good Hands

Friday, February 14, 2014
· New Rural Finance office opens in Swan Hill
· Working with Victorian Coalition Government to financially assist farmers
· Supporting growth in the state’s food and fibre industries
The financial security of current and future generations of farming families in the Swan Hill region is in good hands, Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said at today’s opening of a new Rural Finance office.
Staff at the new Rural Finance office in McNeill Court, Swan Hill, will service 400 clients within a 150 kilometre radius.
“Rural Finance is an important government partner that provides a bridge between many of our assistance programs and the farming communities they are designed to help,” Mr Walsh said.
“Through this collaboration, we are helping farmers to better understand the business environment they are operating in, emerging trends and how to put their farming businesses in a good position for any future challenges.”
Mr Walsh said Rural Finance had an important role to play in supporting growth in the food and fibre sector, which would help to meet the Victorian Coalition Government’s goal for the state’s farmers to double food and fibre production by 2030.
“By building the capability and capacity of industry to manage change and business risks, we are helping to put our producers in the best possible place to capture global opportunities,” Mr Walsh said.
“We have entered a new era in Victorian agriculture where farming enterprises have the full support of government and the future is a bright one for young people looking to work on the land.
“We will support the next generation of food and fibre producers by providing them with the advice and assistance they need through partners such as Rural Finance.”
Rural Finance provides finance to farmers and rural businesses, as well as administering support programs such as the Young Farmer’s Finance Scheme, natural disaster relief schemes and industry adjustment programs on behalf of the government.
“With a loan portfolio in excess of $1.6 billion, Rural Finance is a significant contributor to Victoria’s rural economy,” Mr Walsh said.
“All Victorians benefit from a prosperous farming sector that provides quality produce and generates direct and indirect jobs.”

Long season canola key to boosting productivity

Thursday, February 13, 2014
· Research finds huge potential for Victoria’s canola industry
· Switching to long-season varieties could boost industry by $18.4 million
· Victorian Coalition improving productivity and profitability of growers
Victorian Government research has found canola growers in high-rainfall areas could boost productivity by $18.4 million per year by growing longer-season varieties.
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said Victorian researchers had found annual yields were up to 60 per cent greater with long season canola varieties when they modelled crop cycles in high-rainfall zones with results from field trials.
“Canola growers in high-rainfall zones could see significant benefits to their annual yields by sowing different varieties in future years,” Mr Walsh said.
“Victoria’s canola industry has already been growing, and this new research opens the door for exponential growth in high rainfall zones.
“This research shows that production levels rise by an estimated 39,000 tonnes across the study area when replacing short-season canola varieties with long-season varieties. This equates to a boost of about $18.4 million a year to the industry and the Victorian economy.
“This study is another example of how the Victorian Coalition Government is helping to drive productivity growth in Victoria’s food and fibre industries through targeted investment in research, development and extension.
“Growers in Victoria’s high-rainfall areas can choose to change to longer season canola with the confidence of knowing it has performed well in rigorous and peer-reviewed trials conducted by the state’s leading agricultural scientists.
“DEPI scientists have already shared the findings of their research with Southern Farming Systems, regional extension agents, and the seed industry.”
The study was conducted by Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) scientists and funded by the Victorian Coalition Government’s Growing Food and Fibre initiative and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).
Growing Food and Fibre is providing $61.4 million over four years, and $16 million a year ongoing, to increase productivity in the dairy, red meat, grains and horticultural industries and strengthen Victoria’s biosecurity defences.

Regional Growth Fund supports new Bayer Centre

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
• $14 million Bayer Wheat & Oilseeds Breeding Centre opens at Longerenong
• Victorian Coalition Government provides $1.24 million for access road
• Coalition Government supporting Victoria’s agriculture industry
Victorian Coalition Government investment and the new $14 million Bayer Wheat & Oilseeds Breeding Centre at Longerenong will create 20 new regional jobs and put Western Victoria at the forefront of grains research in Australia.
At the state of the art centre’s official opening today, Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said the Victorian Coalition Government was proud to support Bayer’s initiative by providing $1.24 million to upgrade an access road.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is keen to co-invest and support industry on initiatives that will help drive productivity and profitability growth for our regional farming communities,” Mr Walsh said.
“Global demand for wheat is growing at twice the rate of productivity, and this kind of research positions Victoria ideally to help to meet the needs of the world.
“The Bayer Wheat & Oilseeds Breeding Centre – the first of its kind in Australia – will be researching wheat and canola varieties suited to Australian conditions, to increase the productivity of our farmers.
“Research will include developing varieties with higher yields and with productivity improvements tailored to tackle issues such as drought, diseases and pests.”
Grain overtook dairy in 2012/13 to be Victoria’s highest valued food and fibre export, with $2.2 billion worth sent to overseas markets.
“The new Bayer Centre complements the investment the Victorian Coalition Government is making at the Grains Innovation Park at nearby Horsham, where an extensive pulse breeding program is already underway,” Mr Walsh said.
“It is research like this which will help Victorian grain growers play a role in meeting the Victorian Coalition Government’s target to double Victoria’s food and fibre production by 2030.”
Member for Lowan Hugh Delahunty said the Bayer Wheat & Oilseeds Breeding Centre was a significant investment in regional Victoria which will support 20 new jobs and bring a wealth of knowledge to the Wimmera.
“The centre is one of seven around the world, and it will give Victorian researchers the chance to travel to other locations around the world, as well as to receive and work with international scientists here at Longerenong,” Mr Delahunty said.
“Importantly this centre will also provide the students attending Longerenong the opportunity to observe and engage with researchers and scientists at this world class facility.
“I commend Bayer for recognising the value of establishing their centre in the productive Wimmera and for choosing to work with Victoria on its new technologies to improve the efficiency of food, feed and fibre producers.
“It is also pleasing to note that the opportunity for Bayer to invest has been made possible by the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline, which will provide a secure supply of water for field trials.”
Deputy Premier and Minister for Rural and Regional Development Peter Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government had provided $1.24 million toward the development of allweather road access to the Bayer CropScience facility.
This comprised $1.14 million from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund and $100,000 from the Department of Education and Childhood Development.
“This is an excellent example of government, industry and communities working together,” Mr Ryan said.
“Since 2011 the Regional Growth Fund has provided more than $365 million to support over 1,250 projects throughout regional and rural Victoria, leveraging $1.5 billion in total investment.”
Mr Ryan said in the Horsham Rural City alone, the Regional Growth Fund had provided $9,235,961 toward 31 projects, leveraging $64,371,673 in total investment. Those projects included:
• $1 million for the $17 million Horsham Town Hall & Art Gallery;
• $500,000 for the $1.12 million Horsham Enterprise Estate; and
• $384,000 for the $5 million Horsham North Children’s Hub

Emergency help for fire affected farmers

Tuesday, February 11, 2014
· Emergency fodder drive announced for Victoria’s fire affected farmers
· Funded by Victorian Coalition Government and coordinated by the VFF
· DEPI animal welfare teams and field officers helping with recovery efforts
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh today announced the Victorian Coalition Government and the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) will work together to deliver an emergency fodder drive for fire affected livestock owners.
Mr Walsh said the Victorian Coalition Government will provide funding and the VFF will coordinate the effort which will help stock owners in areas where fire had destroyed pastures and other feed supplies.
“The total loss and damage caused by the fires is not yet clear but we do know that a number of landholders have lost a large amount of pasture and it is essential they receive emergency supplies,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Victorian Coalition Government has a long standing agreement with the VFF to fund the cost of fodder coordination and distribution in the event of fires or other emergencies.
“We activated that agreement today and the VFF is now appealing for donations of fodder for farmers affected by fires north of Melbourne, near Shepparton and in parts of Gippsland.
“These areas are principally: Mickelham, Kilmore, Lancefield, Gisborne and Romsey areas; Wunghnu and Bunbartha north of Shepparton; and the Yarram, Buchan, Orbost, Bonang,
Lindenow, Gifford and Morwell areas of Gippsland.”
VFF President Peter Tuohey said anyone with spare fodder to donate was urged to contact the VFF on 1300 882 833.
“Our priority is getting local donations of fodder on the ground as quickly as possible,” Mr Tuohey said.
“We’re also seeking agistment and will be establishing a register on the VFF website identifying who, where and what is available.”
Mr Walsh said animal health teams from the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) were already visiting affected properties to conduct impact assessments and assist with animal welfare needs.
DEPI is coordinating fire recovery efforts for affected rural landholders from the State Agricultural Recovery Centre at the Attwood Incident Control Centre and has agricultural recovery teams working out of Attwood, Tatura, Traralgon, Bairnsdale and Orbost.
“Our field crews are providing animal welfare support to stock owners, collecting details of loss and damage and liaising with other government agencies to ensure affected landowners received rapid support,” Mr Walsh said.
“Animal health staff have priority access to fire affected properties to help landholders with animal welfare needs, as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Landholders with urgent animal welfare needs should contact the DEPI Customer Service Centre on 136 186.

Signs point to local fishing and camping hotspots

Tuesday, February 04, 2014
· Victorian Coalition Government funds informative signs at popular boat ramps
· Helping locals and visitors find the best Gannawarra fishing in camping spots
· Coalition Government committed to improving fishing opportunities
New signs across the Gannawarra region funded by the Victorian Coalition Government will help locals and visitors to find the area’s best fishing and camping spots Minister for Agriculture and Food Security and Member for Swan Hill Peter Walsh said the signs had been installed at popular boat ramps at Kangaroo Lake, Koondrook, Murrabit, Lake Meran and Lake Charm.
“There are many great fishing and camping opportunities in the region and these new signs will help to showcase those to visitors and anglers,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Coalition Government recognises the huge economic and social benefit fishing brings to regional areas and is committed to improving fishing opportunities across the state.
“The signs, installed by Gannawarra Shire Council, identify popular fishing and camping spots nearby, the fish and crustaceans likely to be encountered by anglers, and the location of boat ramps and facilities such as barbecues and toilets.
“The information has also been reproduced in a brochure so visitors can keep it in their glove box for their next trip to the region.”
Mr Walsh said the signs had been funded by Victorian recreational fishing licence fees and the Coalition Government’s $16 million Recreational Fishing Initiative, as part of the Building Northern Native Fisheries project.
“The project is improving angler access and stocking more native fish such as golden perch and Murray cod in several northwest rivers and lakes,” Mr Walsh said.
Learn more about the 'Building Northern Native Fisheries' project at www.depi.vic.gov.au/northernnatives

Rural Womens Award finalists announced

Wednesday, January 29, 2014
· Recognising rural women who make a vital contribution to their communities
· Annual award of $10,000 bursary and leadership development support
· Victorian Coalition Government supporting rural Victorian leaders
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh today announced the four finalists in the prestigious Victorian 2014 Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) Rural Women’s Award.
Mr Walsh said the finalists of the award, sponsored by the Victorian Government, came from diverse backgrounds and were all high achievers dedicated to their local communities and the Victorian food and fibre sector.
The four Victorian women selected as finalists for the 2014 Rural Women’s Award are:
· Ms Karen Corr, a community engagement professional from Central Victoria;
· Ms Julie Aldous, a food and fibre teacher from Mansfield;
· Ms Avril Hogan, a rural market research consultant from Horsham; and
· Ms Lisa Fahey, a dairy farmer and industry leader from Terang.
“This year’s finalists were selected for their outstanding work and achievements in the food and fibre sector, and for their dedication to making a difference in their chosen industry,” Mr Walsh said.
“They were also chosen for best articulating a strategy for sharing their skills, knowledge and experience with others within their communities and industries.”
Minister for Women’s Affairs Heidi Victoria praised the achievements of each of the four finalists and wished them all the best in the next phase of the Award selection process.
“The Rural Women’s Award plays a vital role in acknowledging and rewarding the important part that women play in their communities and rural industries,” Ms Victoria said.
“Rural women have not always received the recognition they deserve for their achievements and this Award is one important way in which that contribution is highlighted and celebrated.”
The Victorian winner will be announced at Parliament House on 13 March and awarded $10,000 to support her leadership development. The winner and runner-up will be offered the opportunity to participate in the prestigious Australian Institute of Company Director Course in Canberra.
The Victorian winner will then join winners from other states and territories as finalists for the national award, to be announced in Canberra in October 2014.


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