The lack of action on delivering for agriculture from our major parties and candidates is getting beyond a joke. Just a few weeks ago the VFF, along with most of the country, was lamenting that political infighting and jostling for position in Canberra was distracting from the big and important issues facing our sector.
Last week it was State Parliament’s turn, as we saw almost the entire week devoted to argy-bargy and back-and-forth over the release of documents. It was a childish display unbefitting the leaders of our state.
Even on days when the debate hasn’t been dominated by insider issues, announcements from all sides have amounted to little more than tinkering around the edges or Melbourne-centric commitments which deliver little long-term to the farmers who contribute so much to the state. Announcements about fish-cleaning tables, boat ramps and redesigning scary streets just won’t cut it for Victoria’s farmers.
For VFF members and the rural and regional communities they underpin, the inward-looking, self-interested attitude among Victoria’s politicians represents little more than wasted time and opportunity.
Farmers and their communities need and deserve fit-for-purpose roads, long-term energy security, reliable telecommunications and a practical, science-based approach to regulation.
The same goes for a fair and equitable rates system. This week we had a member report a 40 per cent rate hike.
The VFF is also urging members with concerns about their property valuations to not only lodge their objections with their council, but to pass them on candidates and political parties as well.
It’s time for our politicians to remember just who it is they are elected to serve. It’s time for parties and candidates to start delivering for agriculture.