Farmers praise biosecurity windfall, urge permanent funding

The Victorian Farmers Federation has commended the Victorian Government for committing more than $40 million until 2019 into maintaining the Victorian’s rigorous biosecurity measures.

“Australia’s stringent biosecurity protocols is the reason our farmers can compete in global markets, so it’s fantastic to see the Victorian Government make a serious funding promise to maintain the quality of biosecurity,” VFF President David Jochinke said.

But Mr Jochinke said the Victoria’s biosecurity status needed to be protected with permanent funding in the same way as police and health services.

“A two-year commitment is better than the one-year commitment we’ve seen in the past, but our reputation as a nation free from many of the diseases and pests that plague the rest of the world is still on the line,” he said.

“We expect essential services like police and health departments will receive permanent funding to perform their duties, and biosecurity needs to rank on that scale as an essential service that is necessary to preserving the agriculture industry.”

The VFF previously criticised budget cuts which saw biosecurity funding slashed by 49 per cent in 2009-10 and 2014-15.

“We have been highlighting the risks of eroding funding for biosecurity for years,” Mr Jochinke said.

“It’s vital that this is addressed to give the farm sector the best chance to respond to any disease outbreaks, like Foot and Mouth disease.”

The VictorianGovernment’s biosecurity commitment will be outlined in the 2017/18 Victorian Budget.