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    Murra Warra farmer and VFF president David Jochinke.

Farmers: Regions primed to lead

Victorian farming’s peak body has reaffirmed a view that regional Victoria is ideally positioned to help lead the state on economy recovery. 

But Victorian Farmers Federation wants state and federal governments ‘to enable the thinking and policy needed’ to support growth.

 VFF president and Wimmera farmer David Jochinke said despite the challenges agriculture and the regions continued to face, regional Victoria had the opportunity to lead the state’s economic recovery as COVID-19 restrictions eased.

“As farmers, we’re still awaiting the Agriculture Workers’ Code to be implemented and have very real concerns of the impact on our livestock industry in the midst of restrictions placed on our meat-processing facilities,” he said.

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“We do, however, have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to revive regional Victoria and help lead the state from its economic woes.

“Of course our health must always remain our top priority and we need to ensure we continue practising COVID-safe measures. But we also need to look forward to the future.”

Mr Jochinke said the VFF was calling for a change in government thinking and policy to enable the regions to be a vehicle for economic growth and genuine investment in critical infrastructure.

“Regional Victoria is in a much more advanced stage of COVID recovery than Melbourne. Now is the opportunity for governments to invest in the regions to help power Victoria’s economic recovery,” he said.

“There’s an undeniable city and country divide in infrastructure and services such as roads, rail, telecommunications, health and education.

“If we can get commitment from government to deliver a standard for all Victorians, the liveability of the regions will attract community and economic growth.

“Our message to the Victorian and federal governments is the regions can’t wait for Melbourne to catch up. The time to entice growth in the regions and help us recover is now.

“COVID-19 has shown the resilience of regional Victoria. The upside of getting the regions up and running initially is enormous, not just for agriculture, but for Victoria as a whole.

 “The longer we wait to do this, the longer the road we have to economic recovery.”

The entire September 30, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire September 30, 2020 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!