Home' National Farmers Federation : Annual Review 2010-2011 Contents 114 NATIONAL FARMERS’ FEDERATION ANNUAL REVIEW 2010-11
Yet true to Dorothea Mackellar’s poem,
Australia is a land of droughts and flooding
rains. As Victoria finally farewelled an 11 year
drought which crippled many farm businesses,
we were hit with severe rain and flooding
towards the end of 2010 and into the start
of 2011 which wreaked havoc on our state’s
food producers. Here enter a mice and locust
plague adding to what has been an extremely
challenging twelve months for agriculture.
Throughout the years, our rural communities
stand out as having borne the brunt of many
of these natural disasters. Yet alongside the
challenges that mother nature has thrown at
us, farming communities have also battled with
the rules and regulations placed upon them
by State and Federal Governments and their
Looking back over the year causes us to reflect
upon some of the significant changes that
have occurred and opportunities that have
presented themselves for the years ahead.
In 2010 a new Prime Minister was appointed
shortly before Australians were called to a
Federal Election, which resulted in three
independents with a country focus holding the
balance of power. Victorian voters showed the
Labor Government the door after eleven years,
replacing it with the Ted Ballieu led Liberal-
We are hopeful that a new State Government
will bring about significant changes to some
of the key issues that Victorian farmers have
continued to lobby for, including a revised
model for funding fire services and better land
At the Federal level we have maintained our
opposition to the disgraceful Murray-Darling
Basin Plan and have taken a firm stance against
the introduction of a Carbon Tax.
Almost all of northern Victoria was severely
impacted by the floods of 2010 and early 2011.
Losses across industry sectors, communities and
individual businesses were substantial, including
significant losses across the farming sector.
In consultation with the government the
Victorian Farmers Federation ( VFF) assisted
local councils with the replacement of
boundary fencing and arranged fodder drops
to stranded stock. We held a series of Rural
Flood Recovery meetings to arm our members
with the information they needed to rebuild.
We activated our Disaster Relief Fund as a
practical means to help struggling farmers get
back on their feet.
The VFF contacted our members in the worst
affected areas of the state. We compiled their
feedback into a briefing paper for the State
Government which summarised the impact of
the damage as well as an agenda to rebuild.
In our submission to the Government the VFF
called for additional grant assistance beyond
the $25,000 clean-up and restoration grants;
Rural Recovery Officers to assist in the massive
task of clean-up and recovery; and support for
the reconstruction of Crown land boundary
We welcomed the Government’s response,
with a support package covering the majority
of the issues raised in our submission.
In April the VFF welcomed a further $21 million
of State Government assistance to assist flood-
Victorian farmers are no strangers to adversity.
While the challenges of summer did impact
harshly on many producers, farmers are already
looking towards the next season.
The VFF was disappointed with the Federal
Government’s announcement that Exceptional
Circumstances (EC) declarations would not be
extended in Victoria beyond their expiry dates.
While the heavy summer rain broke the back
of one of the worst droughts on record, the
rain also washed away the incomes that should
have provided the chance to recover.
The VFF took an active role throughout the
recent Federal Election campaign by putting
the case for key farmer policy issues and
responding to announcements from both
When the election was called on July
17 the VFF outlined five key issues upon
which Victorian farmers votes would be
decided. Commitments on nation building
infrastructure, investment in regional
development projects, boosts to research
and development funding, the prioritisation
of irrigated agriculture and protecting the
property rights of farmers were nominated as
our most important election agenda items.
Following the well-documented result of a
Victorian Farmers Federation
AFTER years of drought many Victorian farmers rejoiced in 2010 as the skies opened
and gave our paddocks the drenching they needed. Finally, for Victorian farmers, the
drought had broken.
Andrew Broad (right) being interviewed outside a Murray Darling Basin Community Consultation meeting in Mildura.
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