Young farmers meet minister
Minyip farmer Tom Mcgrath believes a meeting with new state agriculture minister Jaclyn Symes will yield positive results for young farmers in Victoria.
Mr Mcgrath is a member of the Young Farmers Advisory Council, a ministerial advisory body advocating for young Victorians in the agriculture sector.
The council met with Ms Symes for the first time since she took over the portfolio from Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford.
Mr Mcgrath said the meeting had established a good basis for further discussions with Ms Symes.
“I think the biggest thing to take from it is that Jaclyn seems to be really excited about having a go,” he said.
“She sounds like she really wants to make an impact and have a go at making the industry attractive to up and coming young people.
“She doesn’t want to rest on her laurels, but really shake things up and look at a few things in a different way, which is good.”
Mr Mcgrath called for young farmers in the Wimmera to contact him prior to the meeting so he could accurately represent their concerns to Ms Symes.
He said he was unable to address many specific issues during the council’s initial meeting, but he expected to be able to address issues in depth at future meetings.
“I’ll get that opportunity to put across the concerns of the farmers in the Wimmera,” he said.
“I raised the general issue of infrastructure within our area. Obviously internet and phone connectivity is still a major issue within our area, and that’s something that really shouldn’t still need addressing in 2019.”
Mr Mcgrath said topics such as mental health and water access and allocation were also discussed.
He said he was unsure when the council’s next meeting with Ms Symes would be, but encouraged young Wimmera people to continue to contact him with any concerns.
“We’re not certain of the next time we’ll meet with her,” he said.
“It’s more about when she needs advice on hot topics at the time.
“Just as a council we could meet two times a year, we could meet four times a year.
“With the minister herself, it will probably be two or three times a year.
“She has also given us the support to say that if she’s got an event in the area or we’re in her area, we’re welcome to attend and talk to her.”
People can contact Mr Mcgrath to share their concerns by emailing thomasjmc[email protected] outlook.com.