Just days after visiting a farm near Colac listening to the concerns of dairy farmers, Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford has admitted the agriculture output budget has been cut by $36.1 million.
The minster made the admission under questioning from the Liberal-Nationals at a Public Accounts and Estimates Committee hearing on Friday.
Under further questioning, the minister said she wanted to find ways to support and protect farmers and their products.
South West Coast MP Roma Britnell said she hoped any support provided would have practical, long term applications.
“Farmers don’t need shallow promises,” Mrs Britnell said.
“The minister is saying she wants to support farmers, but in the next breath is admitting she has cut the agriculture budget.
“Promising without delivering will have even greater negative impacts on farmer’s abilities to get through this downturn.”
In 2014/15 the Liberal-Nationals’ agriculture output budget was $388 million (2015/16 State Budget, BP3 p123) compared to Labor’s budget of $351.9 million this year (2016/17 State Budget, BP3 p123).
Mrs Britnell said the cuts reflected the government’s views of regional Victoria.
“It’s very clear this government, who promised to govern for all Victorians, can’t see past the city boundary,” she said.