Posted on 02. May, 2012 in Victoria
The Baillieu Government has cut a $205 million program to deliver farmers vital support and dressed it up as a boost, the Shadow spokesman for Rural and Regional Development said today.
Mr Lenders said Victoria’s farming sector had been short-changed by the Baillieu Government’s decision to scrap the Future Farming Strategy, a program Labor introduced to boost farming services, drive growth and innovation in agriculture and help the farmers respond to new challenges.
“This is a clear indication that Victoria’s Rural and Regional communities in this budget have lost out over Melbourne’s metropolitan region and liberal party held seats.
“The Baillieu Government tried to hide the cut by announcing $60 million worth of initiatives for farmers.
“But Victorian farmers aren’t as gullible as the Baillieu Government thinks. They know that this actually amounts to a massive shortfall for Victorian famers.
Mr Lenders said this massive cut was a slap in the face for Victoria’s farming communities.
“Victorian farmers are already facing enormous challenges to survive in the face of a high Australian dollar, increased overseas competition and natural resource management issues,” he said.
“Rural and Regional Victoria is bearing the brunt of the State’s job crisis, and what does the Baillieu Government do? Cut vital business, welfare and health support for rural and regional families”, Mr Lenders said.
The Baillieu Government has ignored calls from the Victorian Farmers Federation for moderation.
“The VFF has pleaded with Mr Baillieu to remember Victoria’s rural and regional communities deserve just as much funding as any part of the State.
“This is why the previous Labor Government delivered the $204.6 million Future Farming Strategy to boost farming services, drive growth and innovation in agriculture to encourage further investment in new farming technologies and productivity initiatives.
“Instead of setting up farmers for the future, the Baillieu Government’s second budget has set regional Victoria backwards.”