Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford, reinforced the Labor Government’s commitment to grow Victoria’s $11 billion food and fibre industry by building new industry capacities, growing exports and supporting the creation of new jobs.
Speaking at the Victorian Farmers Federation quarterly luncheon on Monday, the Minister said regional communities and farming families across Victoria will have the opportunity to thrive under the Andrews Labor Government which made it its priority to invest heavily in agriculture under the 2015-16 Victorian Budget.
“Agriculture is an important pillar of our economy and farming families are at its heart. We’re working hard so that they have every opportunity to prosper,” Ms Pulford said.
“We’re investing in food and fibre now so our growers and farmers can stay competitive, continue to grow and lead the world.”
She said the Government will concentrate its efforts on improving the regional rail network and funding for farmer health services to give regional communities and farming families the support they deserved. According to her, the Murray Basin Rail Project – which is in its initial stage of construction – will deliver important upgrades to Victoria’s rail freight network to meet the increasing demand for freight services.
“By upgrading rail networks, supporting our local producers and improving farmer health, we’re getting on with strengthening regional and rural communities and our farming families,” the Minister said.
Ms Pulford said the Labor Government’s $20 million Food Source Victoria program was bringing neighbouring producers together to boost exports and grow local industries, ensuring Victorian producers are better connected, better trained and better supported.
“Food Source Victoria will also allocate $2 million for a scholarship program to better equip regional Victorians to develop the skills and knowledge they need to grow our economy,” she added.
“At least $1 million will be allocated to supporting women to develop their skills and find opportunities in our growing food and fibre market.”