Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell has reaffirmed her commitment to protecting the region’s rich agricultural assets, voting to ban fracking in Victoria.
Mrs Britnell said her view on protecting agricultural land was unchanged after many years of working to develop Australia’s reputation as a producer of high quality, risk free products.
“That is a reputation we as a nation cannot afford to lose, and a reputation that I worked hard to strengthen as a dairy representative on the Australian Dairy Farmers board as the Chairman of the markets, trade and value chain policy advisory group,” Mrs Britnell said.
“My husband and I bought our first dairy farm 19 years ago and have gone on to invest in more land. we understand that our farm business is successful because we have rich, fertile land where our cattle can graze on clean, uncompromised pastures.
“During my election campaign, I was told by many people they felt there was not enough evidence for them to be convinced that fracking is safe. They felt the environment would be compromised and farmers would not be able to produce clean, green, products that are in demand globally.
“Their message was clear. No fracking.”
Mrs Britnell also used the debate to highlight the hypocrisy of Labor’s claim this bill was supporting farmers, when the previous Bracks/Brumby Labor Government issued 73 licences for unconventional gas exploration and approved 23 fracking operations without public consultation.
There has been no fracking in Victoria under a Liberal-National Government.
Mrs Britnell said more needed to be done to show Labor truly values the farming economy.
“We need to invest in finding a solution to rising costs of doing business,” she said.
“This Government claims they had nothing to do with Hazelwood closing, but if you put a $252 million tax on a business you are sending a clear message to that business they are not welcome.
“Milk processors are already concerned that when Hazelwood closes there will not be enough baseload power to dry milk into powder for export and I have quotes that a dairy business has supplied me that show power prices have skyrocketed, 300 per cent. Not 4 per cent as claimed by the government.”
“Supporting farmers to do businesses goes much further than this one bill to ban fracking, and I hope this government recognises that.”