Farmers welcome skills training
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.