Kealy calls to capitalise on prospects
The potential for the Wimmeramallee to lead Australian grain production this harvest has prompted a call for industry and business communities to make sure they are well placed to capitalise on opportunities.
Member for Lowan Emma Kealy said prospects of heavy back-to-back cropping seasons augured well for establishing a firm base to attract regional investment.
She said much of the region was likely to find itself in a position of strength, which was essential in developing productivity and strong, vibrant communities.
“The circumstance presents an ideal opportunity for the region to stake its claim as a major player in Victoria,” she said.
“There has been much discussion about a need to have two good cropping seasons in a row after the lengthy disappointment and confidence-crushing aspects of drought.
“Now that it’s looking like that’s going to happen, it presents the perfect platform to exploit what’s good about the region and the region’s growing reputation.”
Ms Kealy made the observation while taking time to break away from busy and in-depth parliamentary political debate on issues such as voluntary euthanasia.
She said there were plenty of indications to show the region was already responding to a considerable swing in fortunes.
Ms Kealy added the prospect of potential development of a protein-powder plant in the Wimmera was a prime example of value-adding development in response to favourable circumstances.
“There are telltale signs that people are moving onto the front foot with exploration into value-adding projects and it is essential this continues,” she said.
“Instead of talking drought and all the hardships we have come to be familiar with in the last decade, the time is now to start seriously talking the region up and highlighting its vast opportunities.
“The sector is primed and we’re ready to build on our reputation as the grain and pulse capital of Australia.
“This is all about building confidence and, fingers crossed, the harvest comes in as predicted and provides a catalyst of things to come.
“Confidence breeds confidence, and confidence builds communities.”
Ms Kealy said the key was to ‘avoid sitting on our hands and letting it happen’.
“We all have to be proactive to seize the moment and capitalise,” she said.
“This might come through simple regional ingenuity or identification and networking that involves big players in the agricultural marketplace.”
Ms Kealy said the establishment of farmer-based Farm Trade Australia group out of Rupanyup was an example of a proactive approach to forging stronger links between agriculture and supporting communities.
“We should be proud of our region,” she said.
“We are very good at what we do and it is far from limited to agriculture.
“We’re kicking goals across the board.
“This message is much bigger than the agricultural economy alone – it is also about building a social economy through pride.
“What’s important is that after all the years of drought, lobbying, advocating and so on, we have never been more aware of a need to move forward, diversify and seize opportunities.”