To take the region forward, we need to also look at the opportunities and to the future.
Our region is well positioned for growth. Melbourne is full and we can help. The world is about to embark on the greatest challenge ever faced by mankind. The equilibrium between supply and demand of food produced and food required will be out of sync.
In the next 50 years the world will require the same amount of food that was produced by the collective global community for the last 500 years.
This is an opportunity South West Coast can benefit from. I will provide the leadership require to ensure we are able to optimise the part we can play in that challenge.
Our region has huge advantages. It is already the leading milk producer in the country with ability for further growth.
We don’t have the urban encroachment, we have massive water advantages, not only secure rainfall, but un-compromised underground water – like the Dilwyn Aquifer.
History tells us regions with water are affluent. The South West Coast region successfully produces so many agricultural products, dairy, beef, lamb, seafood, grain, fibre and timber. The ability for increased productivity with the right policies to facilitate this is enormous.
The market signals are there. With the right environment and good leadership the other asset we have – our people – will be inspired to value add, find new markets, adopt new techniques and increase farm output.
Both Portland and Warrnambool as the nerve centres, and the towns that feed into the cities, will grow and benefit if we get this right.
I have been part of the Food and Fibre strategy – a regional approach – for some years. The framework is there and its good leadership that I will champion for our region that will take us toward this opportunity.
Our region will be the solution to the greatest challenge ever faced and an opportunity for Melbourne to de-clutter itself. It’s only under good leadership of the Liberal-National team that this vision will be realised.
I will be the champion of South West Coast’s capacity to achieve this.