Victoria’s just-released annual Budget includes a multi-pronged agriculture strategy emphasising on-farm innovation and infrastructure, energy-efficiency, emerging food sectors and and streamlining paths to export, along with improved connectivity and better options for agricultural education and training in regional areas.
Among several farm-friendly measures announced in Victoria’s 2020-21 budget were:
- the establishment of an AgTech Regional Innovation Network;
- the founding of a Pathways to Export program to capitalise on recovering markets globally;
- an injection of additional funds to the Agriculture Energy Investment Plan;
- the delivery of a new phase of the Food to Market Infrastructure Program;
- the new $2 billion Breakthrough Victoria Fund, to fuel agrifood sector investment in R&D and help commercialise innovations that drive industry growth and jobs.
Additionally, the government pledged to spend $50 million on upgrading research, learning facilities and accommodation at regional agricultural training facilities to support training in emerging sectors, such as the native food industry and attract more students to agrifood-industry jobs.
Value-adders and food processors across the state also stand to gain from the second round of the federal government’s Manufacturing Modernisation Fund, which will support new jobs and investment in sectors with ‘growth potential’, including food manufacturing.
Victorian Government Minister for Agriculture, Regional Development and Resources, the Hon. Jaclyn Symes MP, said these initiatives will help promote the adoption of new technologies and innovation across the agrifood sector, support it in adding value to produce grown and processed in regional Victoria, and support food- and ag-related businesses expand into new markets.
“This Budget continues to back our farmers through new technology, education and innovation – supporting them to create new jobs, find new markets and put food on the table for families across the state,” she said.
Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) President David Jochinke applauded the state government’s investments into regional connectivity, upskilling and agrifood R&D.
“We are pleased to see significant investment in research and skills through the $2 billion Breakthrough Victoria Fund and the Agricultural College Modernisation Program,” he said. “It’s vital we educate and equip the next generation of farmers.”
Victorian Budget 2020-21 I Victorian Government