The Liberal Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell has slammed the Andrews Labor Government’s failure to develop a funding program to help Victorian horticulturalists to install netting to protect their valuable produce, despite being provided specific funding by the Federal Government to do so.
Speaking during the first Victorian parliamentary sitting week for 2021, Ms Lovell sought an explanation from the Agriculture Minister Mary-Anne Thomas as to why the funding had not been made available to growers and asked for her to provide a date when the money would be rolled out.
In November 2019, the Morrison Government announced funding of $4 million for the Andrews Labor Government to implement and administer a horticultural netting grant program to protect crops from weather events and pests. The scheme was to be a dollar-for-dollar arrangement with a maximum of $300,000 for each individual recipient.
In her contribution, Ms Lovell said that the South Australian Government had received funding to subsidise netting costs at the same time and had already distributed 80% of the funding to SA growers through their netting program.
Ms Lovell said the failure to help Victorian growers protect their crops was another blow for the horticulture industry still dealing with Labor’s inaction to address harvest labour shortages around the State and placed Victorian growers at a disadvantage to growers in SA who had already received their grants.
Comments attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell:
“South Australia have already distributed the majority of their funding to growers and our horticultural producers deserve better than a government that sits on its hands after receiving federal funding that will help protect our valuable crops.”
“After ignoring the issue of harvest labour shortages currently crippling our growers, the Andrews Labor Government’s failure in the last 14 months to pass on funding for netting subsidies to protect their produce is another slap in the face for the horticultural industry.”
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