Our farmers and food manufacturers will be working hard through Christmas to make sure there’s food on Victorian tables and barbecues and the new Agriculture Minister should be hitting the ground running as well.
A lack of leadership on key challenges affecting our farmers and regional communities has seen the problems getting worse.
Mary-Anne Thomas must step up and act on the problems Jaclyn Symes refused – or failed – to fix.
Our fruit and vegetable growers and food processors desperately need access to a seasonal workforce to make sure they can harvest crops and meet high demand for our high-quality meat and food in the future.
As the only state in the nation without quarantine support, Victoria can look to any other Australian state for advice on a successful framework to safely and urgently get workers on farm and into factories.
The Andrews Labor Government’s green policy agenda is chipping away at the heart of Victorian agriculture.
Farmers will be expecting the new Minister to:
- protect our agriculture businesses from the negative impacts of animal activists,
- immediately reverse Labor’s plan to ban the native timber industry by 2030,
- put Victorian primary producers ahead of Dan Andrews’ dodgy Belt and Road deal,
- make sure a full duck season is declared early next year ahead of the March opening weekend,
- lobby the Local Government Minister to fix skyrocketing farm rates,
- secure the $5 million needed from Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan for planning work to finish the Murray Basin Rail Project to its original scope, and;
- ensure more investment is put into fixing crumbling country roads, particularly on key transport and haulage routes.
Agriculture is worth $15.9 billion to our state and supports tens of thousands of jobs.
The new Minister must be prepared to ruffle some feathers to stand up for farmers against Labor’s city-centric agenda.
The Victorians who grow and process our food and fibre won’t be taking a break over Christmas.
The new Agriculture Minister has no excuse to delay rolling up her sleeves and getting to work fixing the problems left by her predecessor.