The Andrews Labor Government is protecting Victoria’s international reputation as a clean, green producer of food and fibre.
A two year commitment of $44.4 million, included as part of the Victorian Budget 2017/18, will maintain the state’s crucial agricultural biosecurity, protecting access to international markets and supporting regional jobs.
The funds will support Agriculture Victoria to secure overseas market access for farmers and continue to protect our state from invasive pests and diseases.
An additional $19.2 million over four years will go towards a ten-year national plan to eradicate the invasive Red Imported Fire Ant.
The ant can cause significant damage, placing the health of livestock, farm workers and the environment at risk. It was first detected in Brisbane in 2001.
The Labor Government will also continue its support for the implementation of electronic tagging in sheep and goats, helping producers reduce any risks to our meat and wool trade.
The funding reflects the Labor Government’s determination to rebuild Victoria’s agricultural biosecurity system, which had been drastically undermined by ongoing cuts under the former Liberal-National Government.
The Victorian Auditor-General found that funding for core livestock biosecurity was cut by 49 per cent between 2009-10 and 2014-15. The number of animal health and veterinary officers also shrank by 42 per cent.
These cuts weakened Victoria’s capacity to prevent, prepare for and respond to a major livestock disease outbreak, such as Foot and Mouth disease.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford
“Victoria’s primary producers continue to punch well above their weight. They’re doing their part – it’s up to Government to do ours.”
“By investing in biosecurity, we’re protecting our state’s clean, green reputation and the livelihood of thousands of Victorian farmers.”
“We’re taking action because we know that strong biosecurity means a strong agricultural sector.”