The Andrews Labor Government will establish a new $200 million Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund to drive economic growth, create jobs, boost exports and support Victorian farmers from paddock to port.
Premier Daniel Andrews today joined Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford, Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing, and Victorian Farmers Federation President, Peter Tuohey, at a farm in Bunyip to announce the new Fund, which will be established following the successful passage of the Port of Melbourne lease legislation through the Parliament.
The new $200 million Fund will support investment in agricultural infrastructure and supply chains to boost productivity, increase exports and reduce costs so our farmers, businesses and industries can stay competitive.
It will be available for practical projects and programs that wholly benefit the agriculture sector, including transport, irrigation, and energy projects, as well as skills development programs and market access campaigns.
Eligible applicants will include farm businesses, industry and agribusiness organisations, asset owners such as water authorities and local government.
Agriculture and our farming families sit at the heart of rural and regional Victoria, with our food and fibre industry contributing more than $11 billion to our economy and employing more than 87,000 people.
The Labor Government has identified food and fibre as one of six key industry sectors set to underpin Victoria’s future economic growth and jobs. With the right support, there is an enormous opportunity for Victorian agriculture to capitalise on increasing demand from Asia’s growing middle class for our fresh, top quality produce.
This Fund will ensure we’re investing in the infrastructure we need to help our farmers and producers get their goods to market faster so they can take advantage of new local and international opportunities.
Leasing the Port of Melbourne will make our port even better for Victorian farmers, increasing efficiencies and competitiveness, including a significant benefit from the Port’s decision to implement an export discount.
The Fund will be established following the successful passage of the Delivering Victorian Infrastructure (Port of Melbourne Lease Transaction) Bill 2015 which the Liberals and Nationals voted against in Parliament.
Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews
“Food and fibre is the future of our economy. This new Fund will provide concrete benefits to the many thousands of hard-working farmers and regional Victorians that depend on this important sector.“
“Before the election, we promised that a Labor Government would lease the Port of Melbourne. We will deliver on that promise, to ensure our farmers and regional communities get the support they need.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford
“We’re putting agriculture back at the heart of Victoria’s economic development so our farmers and industries can grow and prosper from paddock to port.”
Quotes attributable to Victorian Farmers Federation President Peter Tuohey
“The Victoria Farmers Federation has a strong belief that the lease of the Port of Melbourne should return a benefit to Victorian agriculture, this announcement of an Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund is a substantial and needed investment in the development of our agricultural sector.”