2 March 2018

Rural Victorian’s must benefit from the Snowy Hydro sale

Victoria’s voice for farmers says that the funds from the sale of Victoria’s share of the Snowy Hydro Scheme must be re-invested in rural & regional Victoria for the benefit of primary producers.

“We are encouraged that the State Governments decision to sell the Snowy Hydro scheme includes protection of the current water arrangements, next we need to ensure the funds from the sale of this regional asset are directed to the regions”. VFF President David Jochinke said.

The VFF want the Victorian Government to ensure all the revenue from the sale of the Snowy Hydro scheme is put in trust for re-investment in productive infrastructure for regional and rural Victoria.

“Let’s use the money from a regional, water and energy asset to invest in the future of our water and energy infrastructure”, he said. “We don’t want to see our regional water and energy infrastructure decline like our regional roads have”.

Key projects that the VFF request immediate funding for include:

1. $500 million in water infrastructure projects, many of which have already been fully scoped and partially funded. For example, the Werribee Irrigation District Modernisation Project, which requires the last $10.3 million, to complete the $31.3 million project.

2. $250 million for on-farm energy and energy efficiency projects to boost the Agriculture Energy Infrastructure Fund

“On top of the $750 million direct ask from the Snowy Hyrdo scheme to fund water and energy infrastructure, we expect to see the Victorian Labor Government use the remaining funds to upgrade the states roads”, said Mr Jochinke.

“We have told Premier Andrews that the state of the roads in rural Victoria are no longer fit for purpose. We need a commitment from the government that these roads – which all provide access to Victoria’s food and fibre markets – will be upgraded”.

“The roads we particularly want targeted are those in a distressed condition. It is a safety issue. One the Government can’t quantify as road condition information is not collected when accidents occur”.

The road funding the VFF is requesting will begin the road renewal process however significant further investment is required.

Once in federal hands, the Snowy Hydro scheme will be upgraded. With this upgrading comes further access to water. The VFF strongly support a review of the Snowy water licence once Snowy 2.0 has been completed.

The 10.6 million hectares of farm land in Victoria contributes 3.5% to the Victorian economy including over $13 billion in revenue with 30% of all Victorian exports.

Improving infrastructure in Victoria’s core assets is an investment in Victoria’s future economy and vital in continuing the growth of the farming sector along with growth in rural and regional jobs.

Mr Jochinke said, “I look forward to meeting with Premier Andrews to sure up these asks for rural Victoria”.

For a full list of water infrastructure projects that require funding please contact the VFF.

Media Contacts:
David Jochinke, VFF President, 0427 834 524

About the VFF 
The Victorian Farmers Federation is an active, powerful lobby group dedicated to the interests of farmers and making a difference to communities. With a strong record of successful political and industry advocacy and leadership, the VFF has generated substantial benefits for the agriculture sector since its formation in 1979.

The VFF consists of eight commodity groups; dairy (United Dairyfarmers of Victoria), livestock, grains, horticulture, chicken meat, eggs, pigs and Flowers Victoria – and expert committees representing; water, land management, agricultural and veterinarian chemicals, farm business and rural development and workplace relations.

VFF members lead each of these groups and committees with the support of Melbourne and regionally based staff. As a team we provide the power to effectively influence all levels of government on the wide range of issues that impact on modern farming. The VFF has approximately 200 branches across the state.

Our vision is to create an environment for farmers that enables profitable, safe and sustainable production, within a community that values and respects the farm sector.