The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) says today’s state budget was a
missed opportunity to invest in Victorian agriculture, drive productivity and propel
Victoria’s economy.

VFF President Emma Germano said despite today’s announcement, agriculture
remains ready to drive a prosperous economy.

“Regional Victorian’s have been watching the overspend on city-centric projects
for years. We’re glad that this has been reigned in, but we would have liked
more money to be injected into regional Victoria, particularly in our crumbling
road network, it’s been too long coming.”

“Whilst Premier Allan’s budget looks to be a reset for the state, it is a reflection
of Victoria’s dire financial situation. We’re glad there are no drastic cutbacks for
the industry and no new taxes, but there’s also a lack investment in our sector in
the immediate future.”

“Forecasts show state debt will soar to $188 billion over the next few years, so
it’s clear we’ll be dealing with huge overhanging debt for some time. Victorian
farmers contribute more than $19 billion dollars to the economy through our food
and fibre production and we can do more. We just need the government to get
behind us.”

“In the coming years, stagnating productivity and the lack of investment within
our state threaten to become a major set back to our prosperity. Despite so
many challenges over the past few years, agriculture has proven its resilience
as a sector, and continues to underpin the Victorian economy, not to mention the
vital role we play in feeding our state and beyond.”

Ms Germano added that while this budget remains a lacklustre affair, the VFF
will seek further information regarding a number of funding announcements
made, especially regarding animal welfare and the energy transition.

“We’ll be asking the government for more details regarding the Energy Upgrade
Improvement Program slated in the budget. Given the government’s fast-tracking of renewable energy infrastructure, we need to make sure they don’t continue to stream-roll farmers in the path of these projects,” Ms Germano said.