The 59th Victorian Government is soon to be sworn in and it will include a number of new faces. For agriculture, the Victorian Farmers Federation will have the opportunity to work with a new minister, Jaclyn Symes. We look forward to meeting Jaclyn and her team once her appointment has been confirmed.
The VFF would also like to take the opportunity to thank Jaala Pulford for her work in the agriculture portfolio over the last four years. We will continue to work with Jaala and a range of other ministers in their new roles in the years ahead, as progress in areas such as roads, infrastructure, crime, planning, water and energy remain of great interest to VFF’s membership.
The VFF ran a strong election campaign and we are pleased to say that this gained the attention of political parties. Once the new government is in place we will continue to pursue the critical needs for farmers and their communities.
When the Port of Melbourne was leased the Andrews Government noted that ‘rural and regional Victoria will go from strength to strength’. Several years on and we are still waiting to see this strength emerge. Despite great promises farmers are still putting up with roads that cannot get inputs on farm or produce to market, and telephone and internet coverage that is completely inadequate.
We also look forward to the start of the promised rate review that examines all the systems in operation in Victoria and explores the workable models in other parts of Australia and like-minded regions globally. Importantly, rather than try to allocate blame, the review must articulate a set of solutions, particularly given the recent support of the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) in investigating the rate system.
I also encourage all our members to ensure they have made an appointment to engage with their new Member of Parliament. The VFF has a number of strengths and one of those is certainly the fact that we have members on the ground in every rural and regional seat in Victoria. Engaging with candidates who represent these areas is critical.
Supporting farmers and their families supports rural and regional Victoria. We look forward to the new government delivering for agriculture.