Kealy calls to cap­i­talise on prospects

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY DEAN LAW­SON

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.”

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