A re-elected Andrews Labor Government will provide the biggest boost to our shearers in a generation, help create more jobs in Victoria’s agriculture industry, support our farming families and further Victoria’s reputation as Australia’s leader in digital agriculture.
Nothing says rural and regional Victoria quite like the shearing industry. On farms all over the state, hard-working men and women ply their trade – helping Victoria shore up its status as the agricultural powerhouse of the nation.
Shearing is etched in Australia’s history – from iconic paintings to classic songs – and only Labor will make it integral to Victoria’s future. We will support young Victorians in our regions to usher in a new generation of shearers and give them the skills they need to secure lifelong careers.
Victoria exported $1.8 billion worth of wool in 2016/17, and we want to grow the industry further by creating new jobs and attracting more qualified shearers. That’s why we will invest $1.2 million to develop and promote a Certificate III in Shearing qualification at a selected TAFE from 2020.
This investment is in stark contrast to the Liberals, who sheared over $1 billion from our TAFEs, and closed 22 campuses and facilities across the state, costing hundreds of dedicated staff their jobs.
Labor knows that getting a great education shouldn’t have to mean moving from regional Victoria to the city. That’s why we’ll invest $6 million to upgrade student accommodation and facilities at agricultural colleges at Longerenong, Dookie and Glenormiston.
Labor will invest $3 million to improve health and safety on our farms because safety isn’t negotiable. Farms aren’t just someone’s home, they’re busy and vibrant workplaces, so it’s vital we keep our farming communities safe.
This funding will increase health checks for farmers, deliver a new campaign to raise greater workplace safety awareness, and help the Victorian Farmers Federation employ two additional Farm Safety Officers.
We’ll provide $500,000 to continue the Young Farmers Scholarships and an additional $500,000 to further Victoria’s reputation as Australia’s leader in digital agriculture. This builds on the $4 million in additional funding we have pledged to the National Centre for Farmer Health.
Labor will undertake an inquiry into the council rating system to identify changes that will improve its fairness and equity.
We will also take the fight to Canberra to ensure Financial Assistance Grants to rural councils are never frozen again. The three-year freeze of these grants by the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government has placed enormous pressure on councils’ finances, costing regional councils around $40 million per year.
Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews
“As someone who grew up in Wangaratta – a son of a beef farmer – I know how important agriculture is to our state. We have some of the best farmers in the world and we want to see this sector grow even further.”
“Our wool industry is booming and sheep shearing is an iconic part of our Victorian story – we want it to stay that way.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford
“For four years we’ve been supporting our hard-working agriculture industry, by growing local jobs and delivering the tools to ensure we continue to lead the country – this is the next step.”
“This package will support farming families to access education, health and safety services helping them to further thrive.”