Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas delivered a big-spending recovery budget with $3.8 billion thrown into mental health and $10 billion in infrastructure funding that includes new schools and hospitals.
And while the Victorian treasurer recognised that farming communities are integral to a state’s identity and economy, it pretty much stopped there, by providing only $56.5 million in direct support for farmers in Victoria.
Of this money $20 million will used to deliver on our commitment to position Victoria as a leader in low-emissions agriculture, including accelerating research in emissions reducing technologies. This investment will also co-fund programs to increase drought resilience.
And while Victoria has built a reputation across the globe for high-quality produce – this Budget only backs that standing by investing $12 million to strengthen agriculture traceability systems.
This includes the establishment of a traceability information hub, the development of new systems to prove the origin and quality of Victorian produce, and campaigns to promote the paddock-to-plate journey of Victoria’s produce.
This Budget also invests $6.4 million for the Victorian Fruit Fly Strategy. Fruit fly poses a
significant threat to the horticulture industry, and the new strategy will empower industry
and the community to take the lead on control programs.
Recognising the critical importance of water to farming communities, $8.4 million will
support irrigators and Traditional Owners, including grants for infrastructure projects
to enable farms to modernise and optimise water efficiency.
A further $2.5 million is being provided to support water compliance activities.
Since its establishment in 1986, the Victorian Rural Women’s Network has supported women
who are finding new and innovative ways to grow and improve their communities. There’s
$1.4 million to continue the network’s work.
Rural communities will be further supported with a $5.8 million investment in the Rural
Financial Counselling Service, recognising the key role the service has played in assisting
farmers to recover from the impacts of drought, bushfires and the pandemic.
For any farmers feeling let down by the 2021-22 Victorian budget, remember there is $3.8 billion sitting ready for your mental health failure, at least take some solace in that support.