By Matt Male
Victoria’s farm lobby group will target the seat of Bass to push its “fair go for regional Victoria” election message.
The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) announced on 21 June it would be targeting marginal electorates ahead of this year’s State election, including Bass, Ripon, Polwarth, Nepean, Eildon, South Barwon, Mildura and Shepparton.
Candidates for the seat of Bass, which covers the Bass Coast Shire Council, and parts of the Cardinia Shire Council and City of Casey, include incumbent MP Jordan Crugnale of the Labor Party, Aaron Brown of the Liberal Party and Brett Tessari of The Nationals.
The VFF’s Fair Go For Regional Victoria Campaign is seeking investment in regional road and rail, housing, healthcare, biosecurity, jobs and environmental management, amongst others.
VFF president Emma Germano said the positive agenda focused on delivering for farmers and regional communities.
“Whether it’s how we work together to maintain the profitability of industry, how we deal with a changing climate, or how we continue to sustain thriving communities with a lifestyle envied by those in Melbourne, farmers are well placed to identify the issues that matter to all regional Victorians and to offer solutions,” Ms Germano said at the VFF’s Grains and Livestock Conference in Ballarat on 21 June.
Ms Germano said farmers would be active in lobbying candidates ahead of the election.
“The VFF will be active across the state during this election. Where we can, we will be on the ground in marginal electorates pushing the message that regional Victoria deserves a fair go.
“Our approach will be to run a sophisticated campaign using digital media to speak directly to voters in these seats.”
The VFF is calling for hundreds of millions of dollars to be spent on regional roads, pinch points on priority freight routes and rail.
“The deteriorating condition of regional Victoria’s ageing infrastructure is driving up transport costs and putting regional lives at risk,” the VFF said in its election platform document.
The group is also calling for the reintroduction of the Fixing Country Roads program and increased resourcing for the Department of Transport’s Heavy Vehicle Network Team.
Ms Germano concluded by encouraging farmers to take a stand and make their voices heard at the election.
“We are committed to ensuring regional Victoria is front and centre at this election, and equally to working with all parties and candidates to deliver a better future for our state.”
View the VFF’s policy document at vff.org.au/2022/06/21/investing-in-regional-victoria