The VFF is celebrating its 37th Annual Conference this weekand it’s sure to be one to remember.
Our membership is steady and our achievements are strong. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to rest on our laurels.The VFF has fought hard for rural Victoria and we will continue to do so.
This year marks the end of my VFF presidency and I’m immensely proud of everything we’ve achieved. I’d like to share some of our biggest achievements.
Last year, we ran a long and effective campaign to ensure the sale of the Port of Melbourne lease did not lessen competition and escalate pricing.
In the end, we negotiated to ensure 10 per cent of proceeds from the port lease would go to rural infrastructure, including a $200 million Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund, which will be used to build the Wimmera Doppler weather radar and extend the cattle underpass scheme, among other initiatives.
The VFF convinced the state and federal governments to commit $440 million towards upgrading and standardising Victoria’s north-west Murray Basin rail freight lines.
This investment will reduce supply chain costs for growers and the number of trucks travelling on rural roads.
Our achievements in securing commitments for water infrastructure are impressive – more than $150 million in state and federal funding for both infrastructure and feasibility studies.
We successfully lobbied for a moratorium banning onshore gas exploration in Victoria to be upheld until at least 2020, as well as convinced the state government to raise the payroll tax-free threshold from $550,000 to $650,000 over the next four years.
These are all positive outcomes for Victorian agriculture worth celebrating, and indeed we will celebrate at the conference.
Looking to the future, I see enormous challenges for agriculture. Activists remain an ongoing threat, while external factors like climate variability and market failure will put pressure on our industry.
But it’s important to know that we are resilient. We can approach each issue with experience and knowledge.
Also know that the VFF is behind our farmers 100per cent.
The 37th Annual VFF Conference is on today and tomorrow at Rydges,186 Exhibition Street, Melbourne.
Peter Tuohey, VFF PresidentThis story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.