$200m Fund To Support Farmers From Paddock To Port In Western Victoria

Farmers and regional communities in Western Victoria will benefit from a new $200 million Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund that will drive economic growth, create jobs and boost exports from paddock to port.

Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford and Member for Buninyong  Geoff Howard today joined Windermere farmer Lyle Powell, to discuss the new Fund, which will be established following the successful passage of the Port of Melbourne lease legislation through the Parliament.

Inspecting the Powell’s cattle underpass, Ms Pulford said projects like cattle underpasses would be considered by the new Fund, which 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.

This Fund will ensure we’re investing in the infrastructure we need to help our farmers and producers in Western Victoria 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 Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford

“This new Fund will invest in critical infrastructure such as cattle underpasses, providing concrete benefits to the many thousands of hard-working farmers in Western Victoria that depend on this important sector.

Quotes attributable to Member for Buninyong Geoff Howard

“Before the election, we promised that a Labor Government would lease the Port of Melbourne. We will deliver on that promise, and ensure our local farming and regional communities in Ballarat and Western Victoria get the support they need.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Wendouree Sharon Knight

This Fund will give our local regional and farming communities the right infrastructure to capitalise on new opportunities to grow and remain competitive.”

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