Sharing Agricultural Knowledge With Our Kiwi Neighbours

The Andrews Labor Government is strengthening its relationship with New Zealand, to improve information sharing and problem-solving in the agriculture and food processing sectors.

Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes is visiting New Zealand this week to meet with senior government and industry officials to discuss innovation and approaches to reducing the impacts of climate change in agriculture.

Ms Symes is meeting with New Zealand’s Minister for Agriculture Damien O’Connor and senior staff from companies including Fonterra, visiting research facilities and speaking with Ministry of Primary Industries officials.

Victoria and New Zealand share many economic and climatic similarities – including prominent agriculture sectors, worth $14.1 billion AUD in Victoria and $42.7 billion NZD in New Zealand.

Climate change is a priority for the Minister’s meeting with Minister O’Connor – with New Zealand seen as a leader in this space, having introduced a Zero Carbon Bill earlier this year.

The bill has set a target of net zero emissions by 2050 and aims to considerably reduce methane emissions from livestock.

Victoria led the call for a national approach to address the impact of climate change on agriculture industries and is working to bring this work to state agriculture ministers at their next meeting later this year.

Ms Symes will also visit the New Zealand Agriculture and Greenhouse Gas Research Centre, Tiroroa farm in Matamata and Villa Maria Wines near Auckland.

The NZAGRC was opened in 2010 and is investing $48 million into agricultural greenhouse gas emissions research. The visit offers an opportunity to better understand New Zealand’s climate change research priorities and help inform Victoria’s own research and innovation efforts.

Tiroroa is considered by DairyNZ to be a flagship farm for environmental management and sustainability, and offers visitors insights into how dairy farming can be done in an environmentally friendly way, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Villa Maria Wines is renowned for its sustainability and environmental responsibility in its wine production. The vineyard has a strong focus on building resilience to drought, promoting healthy soils and minimising emissions.

Not only will this cross-Tasman visit inform Victorian agricultural research and policy decisions, it will help the Labor Government identify and capitalise on opportunities that boost jobs and strengthen Victoria’s economy.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes

“Victoria is leading the way in calling for a national approach to combating climate change and it’s important we investigate how other countries are supporting their agriculture sectors.”

“As Agriculture Minister, I’m always looking to learn more about how our vital agriculture sector can keep growing and supporting more local jobs, and keep Victoria at the forefront of food production in Australia.”