The federal election has been called and the race is on.
Voters around Victoria should be asking their candidates - will you fight for rural Australians? Will you partner with agriculture to build a $100 billion industry by 2030?
Agriculture has always been and will continue to be the backbone of rural and regional Australia.
It contributes $60 billion annually to our national GDP, creates hundreds of thousands of jobs, and supports other small businesses and communities.
Yet agriculture holds even more potential for sustainable growth, just waiting to be unlocked.
We need our federal, state, and local governments to partner with agriculture to realise the full potential and spread the benefits of a thriving agricultural sector.
In Victoria, there are basic services and infrastructure, such as fit-for-purpose roads and reliable telecommunications, which, with the proper funding and maintenance, will significantly improve the productivity and efficiency of our supply chains.
After the recent increase in farm raids and privacy breaches, we also need our federal representatives to defend our science-based and world-leading animal husbandry practices, and to work with the industry to continue animal welfare research and development.
So as the campaigning heats up, we will have our eyes on the more marginal regional Victorian seats of Corangamite, Mallee, Wannon and Indi.
Voters in these seats have the opportunity to leverage their position for even greater change for their local communities and industries.
Voters are frustrated with infighting amongst federal politicians and are starting to tune out.
Political hopefuls must think beyond their personal ambitions, start listening to voters and delivering real change.
Thriving regional communities rely on productive and sustainable farm businesses.
If regional candidates want to deliver for their constituents, they must deliver for agriculture.
- David Jochinke, VFF president