Politicians pay locals a visit
DEPUTY Opposition leader Peter Walsh and Tim McCurdy (MLA, Ovens Valley) got a firsthand look at some of the regions agricultural needs and other environmental concerns during a trip to the Alpine Shire last week.
Mr Walsh, the Victorian leader of the Nationals, joined his party colleague Tim McCurdy in Bright and Myrtleford last Monday and Tuesday after attending the shadow cabinet meeting in Shepparton.
“Tim suggested we do a trip up the valley to meet with locals to get a better understanding of their main concerns,” Mr Walsh said.
The pair met with the TAFCO board, chestnut farmers as well as apple growers at Nightingale Bros during their two day stay.
Both were particularly impressed with the new state-ofthe-art sorting and packaging plant at Nightingale Bros in Wandiligong.
Although, not far up the road the local chestnut farmers had some concerns they wanted to talk with the politicians about, mainly around chestnut blight.
The devastating disease which was discovered in 2010 causes a rapid, widespread die-off in once plentiful trees.
Over 100,000 trees are inspected annually and more than 5,000 have been removed since the outbreak was first reported.
“An eradication program has been run within the industry but the state government’s probably not been as supportive as they could be,” Mr Walsh said.
The increasing wild deer population was another issue both Mr Walsh and Mr McCurdy were keen to hear more about.
Mr Walsh said a Coalition government would not only make the kangaroo pet food trial a permanent process they would also include game meat such as deer as another source of pet food.
“There is a market for game meat but it needs continuity of supply,” Mr Walsh said.
“If there is a commercial value put on deer that could well solve that problem.”
He said a “closed loop” supply chain using only licensed shooters to supply registered abattoirs would prevent any increase in illegal deer hunting.
The Ovens River, in the area near Happy Valley was also on the politicians’ visit list with erosion, falling trees, catchment management and silt current problems affecting local river systems.
LOCAL INPUT: Tim McCurdy (MLA, Ovens Valley) and Deputy Opposition leader Peter Walsh (middle) met with TAFCO chair Allan McGuffie (left) and TAFCO manager Tony Vaccaro (right) last week.