Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Farmers flock to Rochester VFF meeting

District farmers have taken the opportunity to find out what the Victorian Farmers Federation has been busy doing, as well as plans for the future.

July 22, 2014 3:12am

Victorian Farmers Federation president Peter Tuohey (left) speaks to Nanneella farmer Jason Palmer and United Dairyfarmers Victoria executive officer Vin Delahunty at a VFF meeting in Rochester.

A large number of district farmers attended a Victorian Farmers Federation meeting in Rochester last week.

State president Peter Tuohey was buoyed by the attendance, noting the strong representation of younger farmers.

The VFF continued to be an important voice for the farming community in the state, he said.

‘‘It is a critical body for our farmers and without the VFF’s strong voice, lots of country areas would miss out,’’ Mr Tuohey said.

‘‘We have an ear in the Government and our recent record proves the State Government takes notice.’’

Mr Tuohey spoke of the excellent work done in reducing regulations and red tape which had added extra costs for farmers.

‘‘We now see a state commissioner for red tape and already there has been reduction in many of those barriers for the agricultural sector.’’

Mr Tuohey also spoke of other VFF achievements this year.

‘‘We have lobbied successfully for changes to the fire service levy for farmers, have pushed for the $220 million investment in rail and worked closely with DEPI as regards the management of heavily-forested areas.’’

He also focussed on the recent VFF conference.

‘‘Here we were positive about the future of agriculture and the need to work to attract investment into the sector.

‘‘We are urging the Government to invest in agriculture to enable our members to capitalise on growing worldwide market opportunities.

‘‘We need to ensure our sector is in a position to be competitive in these markets,’’ he said.

On the topic of foreign investment, Mr Tuohey believed it would benefit the country, provided it was managed carefully.

‘‘A foreign ownership register is imperative and a National Interest Test must be implemented.

‘‘This would ensure foreign investors employ locally, purchase locally and do not simply push up land values out of the reach of our own young farmers.’’

United Dairyfarmers Victoria’s Vin Delahunty spoke to the meeting on changes to the dairy industry, Department of Environment and Primary Industries funding and Free Trade agreements.

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