VFF happy with $200m from sale of the port
THE Victorian Farmers Federation has fought and won a $200 million rural infrastructure commitment from the Andrews Government.
The State Government announced on Sunday that it would establish a $200m Agriculture Infrastructure & Jobs Fund using revenue from selling a long-term lease on the Port of Melbourne.
“The Labor Government has listened and delivered on our call for a fair share of the estimated $5 billion in revenue from leasing the port to be re-invested in rural infrastructure,” said VFF president Peter Tuohey.
“We’re also expecting the government to announce a further commitment to upgrade and standardise the Mildura rail freight line and its feeders.”
Since May last year the VFF has repeatedly argued, that given the port was built on food and fibre exports, a fair share of the port revenue must go back to boosting rural infrastructure.
Mr Tuohey said Premier Daniel Andrews’ and Treasurer Tim Pallas’ commitment to delivering a share of the port lease revenue to rural Victoria was a major win for farmers.
The VFF has raised concerns with the government on ensuring the sale of the port lease delivers equity, access and above all competitive pricing for food and fibre exporters.
“The VFF has given its support to the sale on the condition the State Government ensures theses issue are addressed and the port remains competitive,” Mr Tuohey said.
“The agricultural sector needs a cost competitive port and supply chain that puts Victorian farmers ahead of our interstate and overseas competitors.
“A competitive port in combination with this $200m investment in rural infrastructure will help deliver a competitive supply chain that keeps us ahead of the game.”
Victoria’s Upper House is due to debate the Delivering Victorian Infrastructure (Port of Melbourne Lease Transaction) Bill this week.
The Coalition and Greens are set to refer the Bill to a select or standing committee inquiry.
The government has made it clear the $200m fund’s establishment is contingent on the Bill being passed by Parliament.
Key rural infrastructure projects identified by the VFF include the standardisation and upgrades of the Murray Basin Rail freight network (Mildura and feeder lines), irrigation infrastructure and rural road upgrades.