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Supporting Bushfire-Affected Farmers

The Andrews Labor Government is providing assistance to farmers affected by bushfires in East Gippsland and north-east Victoria to make sure they have the support they need during and after the disaster. The Agriculture Victoria Relief and Recovery Incident Management Team has been established and will be based at the DJPR Biosecurity Centre at Attwood – with command posts at Wodonga and Bairnsdale. These teams are coordinating agriculture relief operations for all fires in the Upper Murray and Gippsland regions and will oversee relief in other fire-affected areas for the rest of the summer. Twenty-one private vets will also work in the Upper Murray based at relief centres to assist Agriculture Victoria with animal welfare cases. After an emergency, it’s essential all livestock is assessed for injury and disease, which can spread more quickly in these situations. Agriculture Victoria animal health and impact assessment teams have visited 290 properties in the past week, providing an initial assessment of 1150 confirmed livestock losses in the Upper Murray area and 150 in Gippsland across dairy, beef and sheep – with more than 3500 animals still reported as missing across both regions. With teams still unable to access a number of isolated communities, these numbers are likely to grow. To arrange a visit from Agriculture Victoria, farmers should contact the VicEmergency hotline on 1800 226 226. While National Livestock Identification System regulations remain in place for cattle, sheep and goats after a fire, animal welfare is the highest priority – and NLIS requirements can be addressed once stock are relocated. The Labor Government is working with the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF), with support from local hay runners and the Australian Defence Force, to provide urgent collection and distribution of fodder. Farmers in need are encouraged to contact the VFF on 1300 882 833. Affected farmers can also access immediate financial support through both the Victorian Emergency Relief Assistance Payment by calling the VicEmergency hotline on 1800 226 226 and the Commonwealth Government’s Disaster Recovery Program Payment on 180 22 66. For more information on support available to affected agricultural communities, contact Agriculture Victoria on 136 186 or visit agriculture.vic.gov.au/agriculture/emergencies/recovery/gippsland-upper-murray-fires. Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes “These fires have been devastating for communities across Victoria and have caused extreme damage to Victorian farms, including significant livestock loss.” “Agriculture Victoria has expert staff on the ground and I encourage anyone who needs assistance to get in touch and get the support they need for their farms, their livestock and themselves.”

Supporting Bushfire-Affected Farmers

The Andrews Labor Government is providing assistance to farmers affected by bushfires in East Gippsland and north-east Victoria to make sure they have the support they need during and after the disaster. The Agriculture Victoria Relief and Recovery Incident Management Team has been established and will be based at the DJPR Biosecurity Centre at Attwood – with command posts at Wodonga and Bairnsdale. These teams are coordinating agriculture relief operations for all fires in the Upper Murray and Gippsland regions and will oversee relief in other fire-affected areas for the rest of the summer. Twenty-one private vets will also work in the Upper Murray based at relief centres to assist Agriculture Victoria with animal welfare cases. After an emergency, it’s essential all livestock is assessed for injury and disease, which can spread more quickly in these situations. Agriculture Victoria animal health and impact assessment teams have visited 290 properties in the past week, providing an initial assessment of 1150 confirmed livestock losses in the Upper Murray area and 150 in Gippsland across dairy, beef and sheep – with more than 3500 animals still reported as missing across both regions. With teams still unable to access a number of isolated communities, these numbers are likely to grow. To arrange a visit from Agriculture Victoria, farmers should contact the VicEmergency hotline on 1800 226 226. While National Livestock Identification System regulations remain in place for cattle, sheep and goats after a fire, animal welfare is the highest priority – and NLIS requirements can be addressed once stock are relocated. The Labor Government is working with the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF), with support from local hay runners and the Australian Defence Force, to provide urgent collection and distribution of fodder. Farmers in need are encouraged to contact the VFF on 1300 882 833. Affected farmers can also access immediate financial support through both the Victorian Emergency Relief Assistance Payment by calling the VicEmergency hotline on 1800 226 226 and the Commonwealth Government’s Disaster Recovery Program Payment on 180 22 66. For more information on support available to affected agricultural communities, contact Agriculture Victoria on 136 186 or visit agriculture.vic.gov.au/agriculture/emergencies/recovery/gippsland-upper-murray-fires. Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes “These fires have been devastating for communities across Victoria and have caused extreme damage to Victorian farms, including significant livestock loss.” “Agriculture Victoria has expert staff on the ground and I encourage anyone who needs assistance to get in touch and get the support they need for their farms, their livestock and themselves.”

New Chief Vet Joins Effort To Secure Victoria’s Animal Health

A new Chief Veterinary Officer for Victoria has been appointed to build on the Andrews Labor Government’s work to strengthen the state’s animal health, welfare and biosecurity standards. Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes today announced Dr Graeme Cooke, the United Kingdom’s Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer, would take up the important role. With a livestock farming background, Dr Cooke will provide veterinary advice on the prevention and control of exotic and endemic animal diseases, veterinary public health, national and international trade, and animal welfare – playing a vital role in preparing responses to any animal welfare or animal disease outbreak. In his current role in the UK, Dr Cooke has led efforts to combat many exotic animal disease incursions, improved the country’s animal health surveillance and played an important role in the delivery of its animal welfare policies. Dr Cooke worked in the National Disease Control Centres set up for the UK foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks in 2001 and 2007 and in the subsequent work to develop the ‘lessons learnt’ from those events. His career has also involved representing the UK at the European Union and the World Animal Health Organisation as well as working as the Veterinary Director for the World Governing Body of Horse Sport. Dr Cooke will begin as Victoria’s Chief Veterinary Officer in April. Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes “Dr Cooke’s appointment is a great outcome for Victoria – with a long veterinary career under his belt, he will be a huge asset in making sure Victoria remains at the forefront of animal health and welfare, and biosecurity.” “I look forward to working closely with Dr Cooke, who brings to Agriculture Victoria a record of delivering results in often complex animal welfare matters.” “I would like to thank Dr Cameron Bell for his leadership as the Acting Chief Veterinary Officer for Victoria.” Quotes attributable to Victoria’s incoming Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Graeme Cooke “I am very much looking forward to moving to Australia and working with the strong team at Agriculture Victoria and especially with Victoria’s farming and food industry.” “It is a privilege to have been asked to join the effort to meet the constant challenge of protecting and improving Victoria’s animal health and welfare.”

New Chief Vet Joins Effort To Secure Victoria’s Animal Health

A new Chief Veterinary Officer for Victoria has been appointed to build on the Andrews Labor Government’s work to strengthen the state’s animal health, welfare and biosecurity standards. Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes today announced Dr Graeme Cooke, the United Kingdom’s Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer, would take up the important role. With a livestock farming background, Dr Cooke will provide veterinary advice on the prevention and control of exotic and endemic animal diseases, veterinary public health, national and international trade, and animal welfare – playing a vital role in preparing responses to any animal welfare or animal disease outbreak. In his current role in the UK, Dr Cooke has led efforts to combat many exotic animal disease incursions, improved the country’s animal health surveillance and played an important role in the delivery of its animal welfare policies. Dr Cooke worked in the National Disease Control Centres set up for the UK foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks in 2001 and 2007 and in the subsequent work to develop the ‘lessons learnt’ from those events. His career has also involved representing the UK at the European Union and the World Animal Health Organisation as well as working as the Veterinary Director for the World Governing Body of Horse Sport. Dr Cooke will begin as Victoria’s Chief Veterinary Officer in April. Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes “Dr Cooke’s appointment is a great outcome for Victoria – with a long veterinary career under his belt, he will be a huge asset in making sure Victoria remains at the forefront of animal health and welfare, and biosecurity.” “I look forward to working closely with Dr Cooke, who brings to Agriculture Victoria a record of delivering results in often complex animal welfare matters.” “I would like to thank Dr Cameron Bell for his leadership as the Acting Chief Veterinary Officer for Victoria.” Quotes attributable to Victoria’s incoming Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Graeme Cooke “I am very much looking forward to moving to Australia and working with the strong team at Agriculture Victoria and especially with Victoria’s farming and food industry.” “It is a privilege to have been asked to join the effort to meet the constant challenge of protecting and improving Victoria’s animal health and welfare.”

Victorian Meat Leads Strong Agriculture Exports

Victorian food and fibre exports reached a new high last financial year – showing that despite difficult seasonal and market conditions, Victoria’s agriculture sector continues to go from strength to strength. Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes toured Yarra Valley Cherries in Gruyere during the company’s busy Christmas picking and packing period to launch the 2018-19 Victorian Food and Fibre Export Report, which shows Victoria’s agriculture sector increased by $98 million on the previous year. While ongoing drought and dry conditions took their toll on the total volume of food and fibre exported, the high market value of beef, sheep and dairy products helped the state’s overall result – with food and fibre contributing $14.2 billion to the state’s economy. The meat industry is still the leading sector, with exports increasing in value by 23 per cent to $4.1 billion. The USA remains Victoria’s largest meat export destination at $1.019 billion, while China’s demand for Victorian produce increased by 45 per cent with exports valued at $687 million. Victoria’s horticulture businesses are also growing their global footprint, with exports increasing in value by 38 per cent to $1.6 billion. In particular, almonds had a record-breaking year, reaching over half a billion dollars in export – after Australian almond orchards produced a record crop of approximately 100,000 tonnes. Victoria’s wine is also cementing its worldwide reputation for quality, with exports increasing by 12 per cent to $404 million while the volume of wine exported grew by 8 per cent. While 2018-19 was a strong year for the sector, the impact on Victorian farmers affected by drought and dry seasonal conditions is clear. Grain exports were the worst-affected, with most of Victoria’s reserves traded domestically instead of internationally, to assist other states also suffering through a national drought. The Andrews Labor Government has set a target to grow the state’s $14.2 billion food and fibre exports to $20 billion by 2030. Major events supported by the Labor Government such as Global Table, EvokeAg, Gulfood in Dubai and FoodEx in Japan are also helping Victorian businesses strengthen ties with industry and global markets. The 2018-19 Victorian Food and Fibre Export Report can be found at agriculture.vic.gov.au/exports Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes “While the impact on our farms from drought is clear, the growth in our meat and horticulture exports is encouraging – showing that the world can’t get enough of Victoria’s quality produce.” “This year’s results are a testament to our hard-working, resilient food and fibre producers across the state – despite the challenges, their innovative work is driving our industry to be the best in Australia.” Quote attributable to Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade Martin Pakula “More people around the world are getting a taste of Victoria thanks to our increasingly global outlook and the Government is committed to supporting food exporters reach new markets and create more jobs in Victoria.”

Victorian Meat Leads Strong Agriculture Exports

Victorian food and fibre exports reached a new high last financial year – showing that despite difficult seasonal and market conditions, Victoria’s agriculture sector continues to go from strength to strength. Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes toured Yarra Valley Cherries in Gruyere during the company’s busy Christmas picking and packing period to launch the 2018-19 Victorian Food and Fibre Export Report, which shows Victoria’s agriculture sector increased by $98 million on the previous year. While ongoing drought and dry conditions took their toll on the total volume of food and fibre exported, the high market value of beef, sheep and dairy products helped the state’s overall result – with food and fibre contributing $14.2 billion to the state’s economy. The meat industry is still the leading sector, with exports increasing in value by 23 per cent to $4.1 billion. The USA remains Victoria’s largest meat export destination at $1.019 billion, while China’s demand for Victorian produce increased by 45 per cent with exports valued at $687 million. Victoria’s horticulture businesses are also growing their global footprint, with exports increasing in value by 38 per cent to $1.6 billion. In particular, almonds had a record-breaking year, reaching over half a billion dollars in export – after Australian almond orchards produced a record crop of approximately 100,000 tonnes. Victoria’s wine is also cementing its worldwide reputation for quality, with exports increasing by 12 per cent to $404 million while the volume of wine exported grew by 8 per cent. While 2018-19 was a strong year for the sector, the impact on Victorian farmers affected by drought and dry seasonal conditions is clear. Grain exports were the worst-affected, with most of Victoria’s reserves traded domestically instead of internationally, to assist other states also suffering through a national drought. The Andrews Labor Government has set a target to grow the state’s $14.2 billion food and fibre exports to $20 billion by 2030. Major events supported by the Labor Government such as Global Table, EvokeAg, Gulfood in Dubai and FoodEx in Japan are also helping Victorian businesses strengthen ties with industry and global markets. The 2018-19 Victorian Food and Fibre Export Report can be found at agriculture.vic.gov.au/exports Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes “While the impact on our farms from drought is clear, the growth in our meat and horticulture exports is encouraging – showing that the world can’t get enough of Victoria’s quality produce.” “This year’s results are a testament to our hard-working, resilient food and fibre producers across the state – despite the challenges, their innovative work is driving our industry to be the best in Australia.” Quote attributable to Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade Martin Pakula “More people around the world are getting a taste of Victoria thanks to our increasingly global outlook and the Government is committed to supporting food exporters reach new markets and create more jobs in Victoria.”

Authority Chair To Continue The Game Plan

The Andrews Labor Government has extended Brian Hine’s term as chair of the Game Management Authority for a further three years from 1 July 2020. Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes today announced Mr Hine’s reappointment. The former Victorian Deputy Emergency Services Commissioner has more than 35 years of experience in the public sector, also taking in land management, health and human services and local government. As chairperson since 2016, Mr Hine has led the GMA through a period of significant reform following the independent Pegasus Economics review of the organisation in 2017. Mr Hine’s leadership has guided the GMA’s reform program, leading the delivery of the Labor Government’s $5.33 million Sustainable Hunting Action Plan – and his reappointment follows the selection in August of new member Christopher Rose and the re-appointment of Dr Sandra Brizga and Maggy Samaan. Three other GMA board positions expire in mid-2020 and the Government will seek expressions of interest to fill those positions in the new year. Victoria has more than 50,000 hunters who contribute more than $430 million to towns and regional centres across the state, supporting an estimated 3,500 jobs. The GMA works with the community as an independent regulator and a facilitator of sustainable game management and quality hunting opportunities for future generations. The Victorian Budget 2019/20 delivered a $6 million funding boost to the GMA to keep Victorian hunting safe, responsible and sustainable – increasing staff at the GMA by 30 per cent, providing new equipment to officers, increasing the authority’s research capacity and rolling out a new Game Licensing System. The Labor Government has also committed to the implementation of a new Adaptive Harvest Model to improve the way populations of duck and other bird numbers are assessed. More information about the Game Management Authority is available on its new website, gma.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes “Mr Hine’s leadership of the Game Management Authority has steered the organisation through an important period of structural and operational reform.” “His reappointment will keep continuity at the GMA as the agency continues to deliver the government’s initiatives, including a $6 million funding boost.” “The GMA has an important role to play in ensuring that hunting in Victoria continues to be a safe and sustainable recreational activity.”

Authority Chair To Continue The Game Plan

The Andrews Labor Government has extended Brian Hine’s term as chair of the Game Management Authority for a further three years from 1 July 2020. Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes today announced Mr Hine’s reappointment. The former Victorian Deputy Emergency Services Commissioner has more than 35 years of experience in the public sector, also taking in land management, health and human services and local government. As chairperson since 2016, Mr Hine has led the GMA through a period of significant reform following the independent Pegasus Economics review of the organisation in 2017. Mr Hine’s leadership has guided the GMA’s reform program, leading the delivery of the Labor Government’s $5.33 million Sustainable Hunting Action Plan – and his reappointment follows the selection in August of new member Christopher Rose and the re-appointment of Dr Sandra Brizga and Maggy Samaan. Three other GMA board positions expire in mid-2020 and the Government will seek expressions of interest to fill those positions in the new year. Victoria has more than 50,000 hunters who contribute more than $430 million to towns and regional centres across the state, supporting an estimated 3,500 jobs. The GMA works with the community as an independent regulator and a facilitator of sustainable game management and quality hunting opportunities for future generations. The Victorian Budget 2019/20 delivered a $6 million funding boost to the GMA to keep Victorian hunting safe, responsible and sustainable – increasing staff at the GMA by 30 per cent, providing new equipment to officers, increasing the authority’s research capacity and rolling out a new Game Licensing System. The Labor Government has also committed to the implementation of a new Adaptive Harvest Model to improve the way populations of duck and other bird numbers are assessed. More information about the Game Management Authority is available on its new website, gma.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes “Mr Hine’s leadership of the Game Management Authority has steered the organisation through an important period of structural and operational reform.” “His reappointment will keep continuity at the GMA as the agency continues to deliver the government’s initiatives, including a $6 million funding boost.” “The GMA has an important role to play in ensuring that hunting in Victoria continues to be a safe and sustainable recreational activity.”

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