Amid all the political noise as parties and representatives jockey for position ahead of the state election, it is important we remain focused on securing the key outcomes our farmers need and deserve.
Given also how much has taken place in the months since the St Patrick’s Day bushfires devastated farms and communities in Victoria’s south-west, it’s vital our key decision makers continue to hear the voices of recovering communities and commit to doing all they can to help.
In the context of the election, and recent questions raised about Powercor’s inspection regime after a report found a termite-infested pole was involved in one of the blazes – the issue of proper investment in well-maintained power infrastructure and assets must be front of mind.
This is increasingly important as we head in to fire season off the back of incredibly dry conditions.
Highlighting the depth of sentiment among members, the UDV is firmly committed to pursuing two major outcomes for our farmers, particularly those still recovering from the March fires. These are that the UDV advocates for power infrastructure in regional areas to be upgraded to improve fire safety and, to allow farmers to participate in the energy generation economy; and that the government secure a pathway to invest in owners of energy infrastructure, to enable immediate upgrading of rural power transmission infrastructure.
These objectives complement one of the VFF’s key election campaign requests, which is for $155 million to develop a long-term energy plan including upgrades to support energy transmission capacity in regional areas and to upskill electrical contractors to provide advice and service farms.
Parties and candidates need to deliver for agriculture on this issue – anything less just isn’t good enough.
- Adam Jenkins, UDV President