Farmers across Victoria are feeling mounting pressure from the many challenges they face. At the VFF, we are working hard to address these immediate issues, while also making progress on more long-term changes.
Dairy farmers in northern Victoria are really struggling under the squeeze of high feed costs, high water costs, and milk prices. We are working in coalition with many stakeholders and experts to understand the situation, consider policy mechanisms to improve the management of water in the Murray-Darling Basin, and ease the stress on farmers.
Last week we welcomed the announcement that two more major retailers will abandon the $1 milk price freeze that has undermined the dairy industry for the past eight years. It is time to move on from the discussion about cents and start talking seriously about structural, long-term solutions for the dairy industry.
Australian consumers want to support dairy farmers, and they should have the confidence that when they pick up milk, cheese and other dairy products from the supermarket shelf, the price they are paying is fair and does not undermine Australian farmers.
Sunday, March 17 marked the twelve month anniversary of the devastating St Patrick's Day fires in south west Victoria. Failing power poles caused two of the St Patrick's Day fires, and we are concerned by the lack of action from the regulator, Energy Safe Victoria, and Powercor to ensure action is taken that will reduce the risk of power poles in future fire seasons.
Victoria is the only state in Australia without an approved management plan for commercial kangaroo harvesting, and farmers across Victoria can clearly see the negative impact of the unmanaged kangaroo population. That is why we are calling for the Minister for Environment Lily D'Ambrosio to implement a framework based on the successful kangaroo pet food trial, which will increase transparency and provide certainty for government, industry and farmers.
On top of all these issues, the drought continues with no immediate improvement in sight. The government cannot make it rain, but they can work with industry to solve some of these problems that put undue pressure on farmers already working in challenging conditions to keep their businesses afloat and feed the nation.
Today, Thursday, March 28, marks the end to the government's first 100 days. What have they delivered for agriculture?
- David Jochinke, VFF president