THE Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said his party in government will support Gippsland farmers by driving growth, supporting jobs and putting growers in touch with the latest innovations to the benefit of all Victorians.
He said a Liberal Nationals Government will invest $5.3 million to roll out the Growth, Adoption, Production and Profitability (GAPP) program as well as establish Grow Victoria: Food and Fibre Exports Program with a $40 million investment to help farmers get more of their products into the rapidly expanding Asian markets.
Victoria is the nation’s largest exporter of agricultural goods, but while other states have increased their share of exports in the past three years, Victoria has declined, dropping from 28 per cent of Australian exports in 2013-2014 to 25 per cent in 2016-2017.
Mr O’Brien said Gippsland has the potential to fill growing demand for food and fibre in domestic and Asian markets but was missing out on opportunities due to a lack of attention from the current Labor Government.
“We know we need to increase the productivity of our farmers to fulfil Victoria’s potential as an agriculture powerhouse,” Mr O’Brien said.
“The Premier for Melbourne and his city-centric Labor Government have failed to help secure the opportunities that are knocking at our farm gates.
“The GAPP funding will be available to industry grower groups to deliver co-funded programs that help their members boost on-farm productivity through the adoption of new technologies and practices.
This follows the success of a pilot program, funded by the former Liberal Nationals Government in partnership with Birchip Cropping Group (BCG).
Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Peter Walsh said when Victorian farms are more productive it’s good for regional jobs, good for regional economies and for all Victorians.
“With strong demand for Victorian food and fibre products, both in local markets and overseas, it’s more important than ever to drive sustainable, long-term growth in Victorian agriculture,” Mr Walsh said.