February 14, 2013
The Victorian Farmers Federation has called for unity in tackling the tough issues facing rural communities. “Just like Farmer Power we’re ‘grass-roots’ farmers trying to get a better deal for our members and ultimately all farmers and their communities,” VFF president Peter Tuohey said. “Attacking the VFF gets us nowhere,” VFF president Peter Tuohey said. “It’s the VFF’s 10,000 grass-roots farmers and our team of dedicated staff who are out there every day battling for your rights, forcing governments to deliver on their promises and protecting your access to water and land. “We’re out there helping our own, co-ordinating the delivery of fodder during the floods and recent fires, lobbying politicians to deliver financial aid and help us with market access. “It’s the VFF that led the charge in blocking Federal Government attempts to just asset strip billions of dollars of water out of the Murray Darling Basin’s irrigation communities. We won the battle to ensure the government invested in water savings and efficient use of environmental water. “We’re the ones who convinced the Victorian Government to deliver on its promise to exempt young farmers from stamp duty on the first $300,000 of land they purchased. The VFF and its dairy arm the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria have been at the front-line in the battle to curb the supermarkets’ power. “We’ve won and continue to fight a vast array of battles. But none of this happens overnight. It takes time, involves consulting our members, strategy, political arm twisting as well as shouting out on the air waves and in print. “It’s great that Farmer Power has packed 600 people into their recent meetings and we’ve already started working with them on some strategies to help those dairy farmers who need support. “But just remember at the end of the day we need evidence, strong arguments and practical solutions to the problems farmers face. Attacking your own gets us nowhere. “The mining boom and high Australian dollar are costing us dearly. But there’s not much we can do about the dollar. “What we can and are doing is demanding state and federal governments help cut the costs of farming. “The VFF and UDV have been running campaigns calling for an end to the carbon tax and other renewable energy charges. We’ve demanded governments address under-spending on regional road, rail and other crucial infrastructure. But in the end we need politicians to step up and deliver.” Mr Tuohey said the VFF had won and was still fighting across a range of fronts for farmers, including: – Fighting and winning support from both sides of politics to dump Victoria’s controversial Fire Services Levy on insurance premiums. – Launching a campaign to deliver a fairer rural rating system. – Working with the National Farmers Federation on gaining greater access to overseas markets. – Battling to get rid of the carbon tax and other renewable energy taxes. – Gaining government support for planning reforms and the simplification of native vegetation regulations. – Running a Gen F campaign to recruit the next generation of food and fibre producers. – Delivering our members deals on cheaper electricity, gas and insurance. – Highlighting the impact food processors’ and supermarkets’ campaigns have on farmer viability.