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New Game Management Authority from July 1

Thursday, April 03, 2014
The Victorian Coalition Government’s promised Game Management Authority will start work n 1 July after the passage of legislation in the Victorian Parliament this week.
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said the new Game Management Authority (GMA) will provide better service for Victoria’s 46,000 licensed game hunters.
“Establishing the GMA is yet another election commitment successfully delivered by the Coalition Government to help build a better Victoria,” Mr Walsh said.
“The GMA will have a strong focus on promoting responsible game hunting and will be responsible for administrative services including licensing, as well as education, compliance and enforcement activities.
“The authority will also work with public land managers and will give advice to Government on game management and pest animal control issues.
“The creation of the Game Management Authority centralises services for hunters.”
Minister Walsh said the Victorian Coalition Government recognised game hunting as a legitimate pastime enjoyed by tens of thousands of Victorians.
“Game hunting is a traditional activity for many Victorian families and the Victorian Coalition Government acknowledges it also generates significant economic benefits, especially for regional Victoria,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is spending more than $17.6 million over the next four years supporting game management services, including new education and training initiatives and compliance and enforcement activities.”
The Game Management Authority’s board positions, including chairperson, and Chief Executive Officer position will be publically advertised from Saturday.
The skills-based board will collectively have experience in areas including law, finance, wildlife biology or ecology, animal welfare, public administration, communications, Aboriginal culture in relation to game management and both private and public land management.

New action plan to fight fruit fly in Sunraysia

Monday, March 31, 2014
· Victorian Coalition Government reveals new QFF control plan for Sunraysia
· Extra $1.1 million for control efforts this autumn and winter
· Coalition Government working proactively to protect valuable export markets
The Victorian Coalition Government today announced a new plan to help Sunraysia’s horticultural industries fight Queensland Fruit Fly (QFF) and protect their reputation in valuable export markets.
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said a major push to eradicate fruit fly would begin in the next few weeks, with an extra $1.1 million to be spent on a range of control activities over the remainder of autumn and winter.
“As part of this plan the Victorian Government will continue to target declared QFF outbreaks in Sunraysia in an effort to eradicate them and protect trade in the region,” Mr Walsh said.
“As part of this new eradication push, it has been agreed with the Commonwealth and New South Wales Governments that area freedom status for export markets will be temporarily suspended to enable additional eradication work to be done and to develop a more adaptive and robust system for managing QFF.
“This means that in the short term, fruit exported from the region to key international markets will need to continue to be treated during its journey or at an accredited treatment facility.
“In addition, the Victorian Government is working with our interstate colleagues to minimise the effects on domestic trade, noting that a number of treatment options are available.”
Mr Walsh said while the Victorian Government had committed extra funds for eradication work, it was also time for industry to contribute its share for combatting QFF in the future.
“Controlling QFF is a joint responsibility and if the Victorian Government is to continue funding beyond October this year, it expects a similar commitment from industry,” Mr Walsh said.
Mr Walsh said that in parallel with these activities, the Victorian Government was working with Commonwealth and state biosecurity agencies to strengthen national governance arrangements for fruit fly management.
“The result will be a more resilient Pest Free Area (PFA) that helps to protect our status in key markets, paired with effective control works funded by both government and industry.
“By taking a proactive approach, the Victorian Government is moving to protect Sunraysia’s fruit industries and help ensure they are well placed to take advantage of unprecedented global demand for fresh produce in the coming decades.”
For more information go to

Genebank provides 300 million reasons to celebrate

Friday, March 28, 2014
· New $6 million Australian Grains Genebank opened in Horsham today
· National facility to ensure future productivity of grains industry
· Victorian Coalition Government supporting our regional communities
The new $6 million Australian Grains Genebank in Horsham has been officially opened, placing the Wimmera region at the forefront of grain genetics in Australia.
Opening the state-of-the-art centre today, Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said the Genebank would house about 300 million seeds from around the world to be used in future plant breeding programs.
“These collections could hold the key to plant breeders finding new ways to tackle drought, frost, plant pests and diseases in Australian and overseas crops,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Genebank will be pivotal to the future growth of Victoria’s grains industry, which is already strong – $2.2 billion worth of grain was exported from Victoria in 2012/13.”
Mr Walsh said the Victorian Coalition Government had provided $3 million to the Genebank, which had been matched by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC). On top of this, each have committed up to $600,000 a year for five years towards operating costs.
“The Coalition Government is supporting our producers and farming communities to grow and prosper by funding important research and facilities like the Genebank,” Mr Walsh said.
“We value Victoria’s farming industries and recognise the significant contribution they make to our economy and food security.”
Located at the Grains Innovation Park, the Genebank will merge three seed collections from Victoria, NSW and Queensland in the one national facility.
“Both Victorian Government and other scientists can access the Genebank to undertake valuable grains research, with access to a new phenomics glasshouse and extensive laboratory and field facilities for crop trials to support the development of new grain varieties,” Mr Walsh said.
“This work will benefit not only grain producers, but also processors, marketers, breeders and regional farming communities.”
GRDC Director Sharon Starick said the impressive facility was the result of many years of vision and hard work by researchers, industry and governments.
“There is more than 2.7km of shelf space at minus 20 degrees Celsius, a capacity to hold 200,000 packets of seed and more than 2,000 different crop species,” Ms Starick said.

Coalition achieves aerial baiting and fresh 1080 baits

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
· Victorian Coalition Government approved to aerial bait for wild dogs
· Farmers now have increased access to fresh 1080 baits locally
· Victorian Coalition Government supporting farming communities
The Victorian Coalition Government has again boosted farmers’ arsenal in the fight against wild dogs by securing approval for aerial baiting and trialling interstate supply of fresh 1080 baits.
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said the two new measures showed the strength of Victorian Coalition’s commitment to controlling wild dogs.
“The Federal Coalition Government approved Victoria’s aerial baiting application late last week after the Victorian Coalition continually lobbied the Commonwealth for a common-sense approach,” Mr Walsh said.
“Aerial baiting was a key election commitment of the Victorian Coalition, which I am proud to now see being fulfilled. The Department of Environment and Primary Industries will begin aerial baiting at three sites each in North East Victoria and East Gippsland in May.
“On top of this, we are also providing livestock producers in Gippsland and North East Victoria with increased access to fresh 1080 baits as part of an interstate trial program.
“Authorised 1080 bait users who live on or manage land in participating parishes can now buy fresh and shelf-stable 1080 baits from the South East Local Land Services Bombala depot or the Murray Local Land Services Holbrook depot.”
Mr Walsh said farmers now had two extra weapons in the fight against wild dogs, in addition to a number of control initiatives the Victorian Coalition Government had already implemented since 2011:
· introducing a bounty on wild dogs which has already eradicated 1,149 dogs;
· expanding community baiting programs;
· cut red tape so wild dog controllers can work outside the 3km buffer zone;
· baiting deeper than ever into remote Crown land areas;
· reintroducing Lanes traps; and
· establishing the Wild Dog Control Advisory Committee.
“Helping to control wild dogs in Victoria is a key priority of this government. The vicious pests prey on newborn lambs and calves, as well as native fauna, causing both emotional and financial hardship for rural communities,” Mr Walsh said.
For more information on aerial baiting visit
To view a interstate 1080 bait supply fact sheet and eligible parishes visit

Fox bounty reaches milestone

Wednesday, March 19, 2014
· Victorian Coalition Government bounty reaches 250,253 fox scalps
· Farmers and shooters strongly support the $10 bounty program
· Bounty is part of Victoria’s integrated fox and wild dog control efforts
More than 250,000 fox scalps have been handed into the Victorian Coalition Government’s successful Fox and Wild Dog Bounty since October 2011, with a strong start to 2014 collections bolstering the tally.
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said “a total of 250,253 fox scalps have been handed in since the program began, and farmers and shooters have been rewarded with $2.5 million in bounty payments for their efforts”.
“There has been an overwhelming response since collections resumed earlier this month, with more than 7,000 fox scalps handed since already this year.
“The only good fox is a dead fox, and I am pleased the Coalition Government’s successful initiative is helping farmers deal with these vicious pests.
“Farmers’ and shooters’ continued strong support for the bounty of $10 per fox scalp highlights the inadequacy of the previous Labor government’s Fox Stop program, which eradicated just 20,034 foxes in three years. The Coalition Government’s bounty has eradicated 12 times as many foxes in less time.
“The bounty is playing an important role in the Coalition Government’s integrated approach to fox and wild dog control, which also includes baiting, trapping and fencing.
“Helping landowners and regional communities to deal with pests like foxes and wild dogs is just another way the Victorian Coalition Government is building a better Victoria.”
Mr Walsh said bounty collections resumed on Monday 3 March after a break over the quiet Christmas period, which ensured administration costs were kept down.
“While the strong start to 2014 collections is partly explained by the summer break, it also confirms that support for the bounty is as strong as ever,” Mr Walsh said.
For more information about the bounty including the collection schedule and terms and conditions go to

Victoria to trial processing of kangaroo meat

Wednesday, March 19, 2014
· Victoria to trial commercial processing of culled kangaroos for pet food
· Aim to reduce waste and give landowners an alternative disposal option
· Two year trial in 12 local government areas where kangaroos cause most damage Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh has today announced Victoria will trial arrangements for the processing of kangaroo meat for pet food.
Minister Walsh said the trial would be restricted to kangaroos culled under Authority to Control Wildlife (ATCW) permits, with the aim of reducing waste and providing an alternative disposal option for landowners.
“The two year trial will be conducted in six local government areas in North East Victoria and six local government areas in Western Victoria where there are the highest number of wildlife control
applications,” Mr Walsh said.
“Currently kangaroos culled under authorised control efforts cannot be used or processed commercially. Landholders must bury the carcasses and, depending on the size of the control effort required, this can be laborious.
“Pet food processors have shown interest in making productive use of what is currently a wasted meat supply, and this would also help landowners with disposal.
“The controlled trial, which will begin from Monday 31 March, will allow selected and regulated processing of these carcasses for pet food.”
Within the trial areas, kangaroos intended for processing must be controlled by shooters with approved qualifications, who must be listed as the agent on the Authorised Control permit.
Meat industry regulator PrimeSafe will work with licensed pet food processors to ensure stringent adherence to regulatory standards. Processors must be licenced under the Meat Industry Act 1993 and will also need a wildlife processor licence under the Wildlife Act 1975.
Mr Walsh said there would be no change to the process or assessment criteria for the granting of Authority to Control Wildlife permits.
“Wherever possible, the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) advocates nonlethal management of kangaroos but in some situations these methods are ineffective, impractical or excessively costly. In these cases, landholders can apply for an ATCW permit.
“ATCW permits will continue to be assessed on case-by case basis and will only be granted if DEPI officers are satisfied lethal control is required,” Mr Walsh said.
More information about the trial is available at

Duck season set to open in Victoria this weekend

Wednesday, March 12, 2014
· Victorian duck hunting season opens Saturday with 10 new State Game Reserves
· Some wetlands will be closed to hunting
· Victorian Coalition Government encourages responsible game hunting
The Victorian duck season begins this Saturday, with 10 new State Game Reserves securing more habitat for waterfowl and improving hunting opportunities across the state.
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said the Victorian Coalition Government encouraged the state’s 25,000 licensed hunters to act responsibly during the 12-week season, including adhering to the bag limit of 10 game birds per day.
“Victoria has some of the best duck hunting opportunities in Australia and hunters generate important economic activity in Victorian rural towns and regional centres,” Mr Walsh said.
“Following the Victorian Environment Assessment Council’s River Red Gum Forest Investigation, 10 additional reserves will now be classified as State Game Reserves for duck hunting while another six temporary State Game Reserves will become permanent.
“State Game Reserves are managed by Parks Victoria and are highly valued by the hunting community, as they provide a productive and secure habitat for waterbirds.”
However, Mr Walsh said five wetlands will be closed in full this season and another wetland will be partially closed, following the completion of the annual waterfowl counts.
“The Department of Environment and Primary Industries annual waterfowl count found there were substantial numbers of freckled duck and blue-billed duck in some locations,” Mr Walsh said.
“By closing wetlands where appropriate, we are ensuring rare and threatened species are protected while still enabling duck hunters to enjoy their recreation.”
The wetlands to be fully closed are: Round Lake at Lake Boga; Hird Swamp at Kerang; Bartlett’s Swamp at Boort; Lake Natimuk at Natimuk; and Lake Colac at Colac. Part of Lake Connewarre State Game Reserve near Geelong will also be closed.
Kow Swamp, east of Kerang, and Reedy Lakes at Kerang, will also be closed to reinforce their status as wildlife sanctuaries.
All people present at wetlands during duck hunting season must act responsibly and lawfully. The season opens Saturday 15 March at 7.10am in the eastern zone, 7.20am in the central zone and 7.30am in the western zone, and closes half an hour after sunset on Monday 9 June.
For more information on the 2014 duck season visit or on the new State Game Reserves visit


Friday, March 07, 2014
• A total of 45 Show Societies shared in over $265,000 funding
• Includes upgrades to airconditioning, access roads, toilets and pavilions
• Rural shows a great boost to local economies
 Show societies across regional Victoria are sharing in $265,830 from the Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Government to help them improve and update facilities for the benefit of their local communities.
 The Nationals Member for Swan Hill, Peter Walsh, said that regional and rural show days provide a boost to local economies and an opportunity for communities to come together, while showcasing the area’s agriculture to both locals and visitors.
 “The Coalition Government recognises the important role that agricultural and pastoral shows play in their local communities and is committed to supporting them into the future.
 “Under the 2013-14 Agricultural and Pastoral Society Grants Program, 45 show societies have received grants to help them to continue their great work”, Mr Walsh said.
“Local show societies to benefit include Boort Agricultural & Pastoral Society which received $10,000 to upgrade its pavilion, Donald Pastoral & Agricultural Society received $4,600 to purchase tables and safety equipment, Minyip Show Society got $5,123 to upgrade toilet facilities at the showgrounds and Swan Hill & District Agricultural & Pastoral Society received $7,012 to upgrade the show society kitchen.
 “Each year the Grants Program provides grants of up to $10,000 for improving facilities that promote agriculture and arts and crafts.
 “The program also offers grants of up to $8,000 to install or upgrade showground amenities and up to $5,000 for business activities such as workshops, planning and surveys”, explained Mr Walsh.
 “The grants are conditional on show societies providing $1 for every $2 contributed by the Victorian Government.
 “Since 2000, the program has provided more than $2 million for a range of projects including upgrading pavilions and display facilities, installing new power facilities and building new fences and livestock yards”, Mr Walsh said.
 For more information on the Agricultural and Pastoral Society Grants program go to

35 Million Dollar Food to Asia Action Plan Launched

Thursday, March 06, 2014
• The Action Plan will be a key driver of economic growth and jobs across Victoria
• It is designed to get more Victorian food and beverages on Asian tables
• The Action Plan brings the Coalition’s support for growing Victoria’s agricultural production and food processing sector to almost $160 million
 Premier Denis Napthine yesterday launched Victoria’s Food to Asia Action Plan which will deliver a more profitable food sector and create new and sustainable jobs in the Swan Hill community.
 The Nationals Member for Swan Hill, Peter Walsh, said that The Plan provides an opportunity for local businesses and producers to take advantage of the rapid growth of Asia’s consumer class and their requirement for premium food and beverages.
The $35.4 million Food to Asia Action Plan will:-
• strengthen representation of Victoria’s food sector in Asian markets
• focus research and development investments on food that meets Asian consumer preferences, and
• will deliver a Food to Asia Trade Program.
 “The Plan builds on the work the Coalition Government has already undertaken to grow production and jobs in the agricultural and food processing sectors throughout Victoria and in the Swan Hill electorate. 
“Agriculture and horticulture and their associated food industries and vast service sector are the economic drivers of the Swan Hill electorate”, Mr Walsh said.
“$62.6 million has been invested in the Victorian International Engagement Strategy that has resulted in 555 Victorian food and beverage companies travelling to Asia as part of 13 trade missions since July, 2012.
 “These trade missions have resulted in a projected $1.13 billion worth of exports for Victoria.
 “$61.4 million has been invested in the Growing Food and Fibre program to double food and fibre production by 2030.
 “Victoria’s food and fibre exports increased 5 per cent last financial year.
 “There can be no doubt that Victoria is Australia’s premier food state, it is our largest export sector and the Government’s investment will ensure this remains so well into the future, “ Mr Walsh said.

Victorian exports take a major step forward into Asia

Wednesday, March 05, 2014
Food to Asia Action Plan is a major step forward for Victorian exports in Asia One in six jobs in regional and rural Victoria are in the food sector Victorian Coalition Government commits $35 million to drive economic growth in Asia
Victoria’s food sector will thrive in Asia as the continent’s demand for food increases massively by 2050, Premier Denis Napthine announced today.
Launching the first Food to Asia Action Plan at the opening of the International Food and Beverage Trade Week, Dr Napthine stressed the importance of capitalising on Victorian food and fibre exports.
“Today Victoria takes a major step forward in capitalising on export opportunities in Asia,” Dr Napthine said.
“That is why the Victorian Coalition Government has committed $35.4 million to drive Victoria’s long term growth as demand from Asia grows.
“This is about entrenching Victoria’s position as Australia’s premier food and agriculture state.”
The Action Plan funding builds on existing commitments, including the $61.4 million invested in the Growing Food and Fibre program to double food and fibre production by 2030, and Victoria’s $62.6 million International Engagement Strategy.
“The food sector directly employs about 145,000 Victorians, accounting for one in six jobs in regional and rural Victoria,” Dr Napthine said.
“By 2030, the number of consumers in Asia with discretionary spending will increase sixfold to around 3.5 billion people as demand for food increases exponentially.
“We need to capitalise on Victoria’s strong track-record in international agricultural production with food and fibre exports increasing to more than $9.4 billion in 2012-13, up 5 per cent on the previous year.”
International Food and Beverage Trade Week is the Victorian Coalition Government’s key inbound trade mission program, attracting more than 240 senior food and beverage buyers from across Asia to Melbourne this week.
Dr Napthine was joined by Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh who said the Action Plan would put more clean, green Victorian produce into higher valued Asian export markets, and bring benefit both to farmers and food businesses.
“Victoria is already highly regarded as a grower and supplier of premium, safe food for more than 100 markets worldwide but there is significant opportunity to grow our efforts,” Mr Walsh said.
"Our strong farming and food manufacturing reputations are enviable trading advantages as we position Victoria to become a leader in exports of high quality food products to Asia."
The Food to Asia Action Plan can be accessed at

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