Farm­ers wel­come skills train­ing

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Ag Life -

A$20-mil­lion State Gov­ern­ment com­mit­ment to skills and safety in the Vic­to­rian agri­cul­tural in­dus­try has won plau­dits from the state’s farm­ing peak body.

Vic­to­rian Farm­ers Fed­er­a­tion wel­comed the gov­ern­ment’s Vic­to­rian Agri­cul­ture Skills State­ment: Smarter, Safer Farms.

The pack­age in­cludes plans for the es­tab­lish­ment of a Farm Safety Coun­cil in part­ner­ship with the fed­er­a­tion and other groups

The coun­cil would over­see im­ple­men­ta­tion of $10-mil­lion in safe farm­ing projects, as well as $10-mil­lion to es­tab­lish Farm Skills Vic­to­ria, with a fo­cus on skills de­vel­op­ment and up­take in the sec­tor.

VFF pres­i­dent David Jochinke of Murra Warra said farm safety and skills de­vel­op­ment had been iden­ti­fied as key area of need in the VFF’S elec­tion cam­paign.

“The an­nounce­ment of the $10-mil­lion Farm Safety Coun­cil and as­so­ci­ated pack­age to be im­ple­mented in part­ner­ship with the VFF is in line with one of VFF’S key elec­tion asks – which is to ad­dress the need for in­dus­try and farmer-led cul­tural and be­havioural change when it comes to farm safety,” he said.

“The fact that more than half of work­place deaths in Vic­to­ria oc­curred on farms last year, and that agri­cul­ture has one of the worst health and safety records of all in­dus­tries, means sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment in farmer-led ini­tia­tives that pro­mote this cul­tural change is needed.

“Ac­ci­dents, in­jury and deaths on farm are not ac­cept­able. For too long the Vic­to­rian agri­cul­ture sec­tor has put this in the too-hard bas­ket – shy­ing away from hav­ing the tough con­ver­sa­tions.

“A strong safety cul­ture re­quires be­havioural and cul­tural change. In seek­ing to ad­dress these is­sues, the VFF has em­pha­sised the need for on-farm health and safety ini­tia­tives that are farmer-led to en­sure adop­tion, ac­cep­tance, rel­e­vance and buy-in from farm­ers across the state.

“We wel­come the op­por­tu­nity to drive change via the safety coun­cil.”

Mr Jochinke said the fed­er­a­tion also wel­comed the gov­ern­ment com­mit­ment to es­tab­lish Farm Skills Vic­to­ria to fo­cus on skills de­vel­op­ment and up­take in the sec­tor, as well as $2.5-mil­lion in fund­ing for Agtech in­no­va­tion de­vel­op­ments at Lon­gerenong Col­lege.

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