State budget must benefit the farming community

Opinion: State budget must benefit the farming community

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At a time when farmers are forced into further isolation, access to a mobile service and the internet is vital.

At a time when farmers are forced into further isolation, access to a mobile service and the internet is vital.

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It is clear that both the current health and economic crises will have a significant impact on the forthcoming Victorian state budget.

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It is clear that both the current health and economic crises will have a significant impact on the forthcoming Victorian state budget.

The task for the government now is to ensure country Victorians are not forgotten as it scrambles to respond to the coronavirus.

The VFF had the opportunity to share with the Victorian government our budget expectations before the coronavirus outbreak.

We made it clear that in order to continue operating and growing in a dynamic global environment, Victorian farmers need the continued support of their government.

We need a guaranteed energy supply, fit-for-purpose roads and rail infrastructure, reliable telecommunications, fair planning controls and support to combat the emerging threats to agriculture like biosecurity risks.

Fundamentally, we need a state budget that supports and promotes viable and responsible agricultural production - not get in its way.

The past two weeks have brought the issue of telecommunications into sharp focus.

At a time when farmers are forced into further isolation, access to a mobile service and the internet is vital, not just for our businesses, but our health and safety.

It is also important that the budget takes the necessary steps to support communities impacted in the recent Gippsland and Upper Murray bushfires.

The VFF is grateful to all levels of government for the assistance and support that has been provided to those communities.

We will all have to make sacrifices over the coming months.

We already are.

But country Victoria and our farming communities deserve a fair go.

We need the basic levels of infrastructure and services enjoyed by communities in the city to ensure that our own people can live a decent life.

  • David Jochinke is the VFF president
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