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Backing The Science, Protecting Farmers And Boosting Jobs

The Andrews Labor Government is backing the science to create jobs and bolster energy supply with new legislation to lift the moratorium on onshore gas exploration and production, and ban fracking for good. The Labor Government will introduce two Bills today. The first will enshrine the historic ban on fracking and coal seam gas exploration in the Victorian Constitution. Fracking was banned in 2017 and at the 2018 election, Labor promised to put that ban in the Constitution – to make it harder for future Liberal and National governments to put our food and fibre sector at risk. The second piece of legislation will allow for an orderly restart of onshore conventional gas exploration and development from 1 July 2021. The decision follows three years of detailed investigation by the Victorian Gas Program, which found an onshore conventional gas industry would not compromise the state’s environmental and agricultural credentials. The investigation was overseen by Victoria’s Lead Scientist, Dr Amanda Caples, who chaired an independent Stakeholder Advisory Panel including farmers, environmentalists, industry representatives and local councils. These studies have identified potentially significant onshore conventional gas resources particularly in the Otway Basin, which stretches across the border to South Australia where a productive industry has been established. Production of Victoria’s estimated resources could generate more than $310 million annually for regional economies and create 6,400 jobs over the lifespan of these projects. The sensible, science-based approach will also bolster Victoria’s energy security, with any gas produced from future onshore production licences to be prioritised for the domestic market – supporting local industry and consumers. The Government will now work with industry and communities to develop rigorous engagement and transparency obligations, and improve the regulatory framework – to guarantee a world’s best practice approach. Landholders will also be supported to better negotiate access rights and compensation with exploration companies. The moratorium on onshore conventional gas exploration and development was set to expire on 30 June this year. A new wave of offshore gas exploration is expected to start this year off the south-west coast – where gas has flowed from for decades. Companies will soon be awarded the rights over blocks in waters next to existing sites. Gas will continue to play an important role in supporting Victoria’s transition to a cleaner energy future, in line with the Government’s commitment to net zero emissions by 2050. For a copy of the Victorian Gas Program Progress Report No.4, go to earthresources.vic.gov.au/gasprogram. Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “We’re backing the science to create jobs, boost energy supply and support regional communities across the state.” “We promised to enshrine our historic ban on fracking in the constitution and we’re delivering – to protect farming communities, and our huge food and fibre sector.” Quote attributable to Minister for Resources Jaclyn Symes “Three years of research shows securing local gas supply for Victorians will not come at the cost of the state’s groundwater supplies, agricultural industries or our farming’s clean and green reputation.”

Backing The Science, Protecting Farmers And Boosting Jobs

The Andrews Labor Government is backing the science to create jobs and bolster energy supply with new legislation to lift the moratorium on onshore gas exploration and production, and ban fracking for good. The Labor Government will introduce two Bills today. The first will enshrine the historic ban on fracking and coal seam gas exploration in the Victorian Constitution. Fracking was banned in 2017 and at the 2018 election, Labor promised to put that ban in the Constitution – to make it harder for future Liberal and National governments to put our food and fibre sector at risk. The second piece of legislation will allow for an orderly restart of onshore conventional gas exploration and development from 1 July 2021. The decision follows three years of detailed investigation by the Victorian Gas Program, which found an onshore conventional gas industry would not compromise the state’s environmental and agricultural credentials. The investigation was overseen by Victoria’s Lead Scientist, Dr Amanda Caples, who chaired an independent Stakeholder Advisory Panel including farmers, environmentalists, industry representatives and local councils. These studies have identified potentially significant onshore conventional gas resources particularly in the Otway Basin, which stretches across the border to South Australia where a productive industry has been established. Production of Victoria’s estimated resources could generate more than $310 million annually for regional economies and create 6,400 jobs over the lifespan of these projects. The sensible, science-based approach will also bolster Victoria’s energy security, with any gas produced from future onshore production licences to be prioritised for the domestic market – supporting local industry and consumers. The Government will now work with industry and communities to develop rigorous engagement and transparency obligations, and improve the regulatory framework – to guarantee a world’s best practice approach. Landholders will also be supported to better negotiate access rights and compensation with exploration companies. The moratorium on onshore conventional gas exploration and development was set to expire on 30 June this year. A new wave of offshore gas exploration is expected to start this year off the south-west coast – where gas has flowed from for decades. Companies will soon be awarded the rights over blocks in waters next to existing sites. Gas will continue to play an important role in supporting Victoria’s transition to a cleaner energy future, in line with the Government’s commitment to net zero emissions by 2050. For a copy of the Victorian Gas Program Progress Report No.4, go to earthresources.vic.gov.au/gasprogram. Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “We’re backing the science to create jobs, boost energy supply and support regional communities across the state.” “We promised to enshrine our historic ban on fracking in the constitution and we’re delivering – to protect farming communities, and our huge food and fibre sector.” Quote attributable to Minister for Resources Jaclyn Symes “Three years of research shows securing local gas supply for Victorians will not come at the cost of the state’s groundwater supplies, agricultural industries or our farming’s clean and green reputation.”

Knowledge Is Power For Drought-Affected Farmers

Victorian farming communities impacted by drought and dry seasonal conditions will have more access to the information and expertise they need, thanks to funding from the Andrews Labor Government. The $650,000 Farming and Community Group Drought Funding program, which is now open, provides grants of up to $25,000 for groups to engage technical experts or specialists to deliver training to farmers that is designed to help them prepare for, respond to and manage drought and dry seasonal conditions. The program is open to community groups including Landcare and land management groups, industry groups, farming systems groups, farming discussion groups and other not-for-profit organisations. Groups in the Millewa, East Gippsland and the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District are particularly encouraged to apply. A similar program which ran last year was extremely successful, delivering 30 activities, engaging more than 900 farmers and 200 service providers. Farmers across the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District were among those who benefited from last year’s program with Murray Dairy using the funding to support dairy businesses to tailor their business plans. Applications for the 2020 Farming and Community Group Drought Funding open today and close on 23 March. Projects must be delivered between April and June 2020. The program is part of the $81 million funding package that the Labor Government has committed to support the state’s worst-hit farming businesses and families to recover from the impacts of drought. For more information about the program and other assistance available to help farmers call 136186 or visit  agriculture.vic.gov.au/dryseasons. Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes “We’ve worked with farmers to develop a program for them to gain access to the information and expertise that they need to manage and prepare for drought and dry seasonal conditions.” “This is about increasing knowledge and capability by encouraging local groups to team with a technical expert to deliver workshops or run events tailored to local needs.”  Quote attributable to Murray Dairy chief executive Jenny Wilson “Last year’s community groups funding program was important to help set our dairy farmers up for managing what are very challenging times for our industry in northern Victoria.”

Knowledge Is Power For Drought-Affected Farmers

Victorian farming communities impacted by drought and dry seasonal conditions will have more access to the information and expertise they need, thanks to funding from the Andrews Labor Government. The $650,000 Farming and Community Group Drought Funding program, which is now open, provides grants of up to $25,000 for groups to engage technical experts or specialists to deliver training to farmers that is designed to help them prepare for, respond to and manage drought and dry seasonal conditions. The program is open to community groups including Landcare and land management groups, industry groups, farming systems groups, farming discussion groups and other not-for-profit organisations. Groups in the Millewa, East Gippsland and the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District are particularly encouraged to apply. A similar program which ran last year was extremely successful, delivering 30 activities, engaging more than 900 farmers and 200 service providers. Farmers across the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District were among those who benefited from last year’s program with Murray Dairy using the funding to support dairy businesses to tailor their business plans. Applications for the 2020 Farming and Community Group Drought Funding open today and close on 23 March. Projects must be delivered between April and June 2020. The program is part of the $81 million funding package that the Labor Government has committed to support the state’s worst-hit farming businesses and families to recover from the impacts of drought. For more information about the program and other assistance available to help farmers call 136186 or visit  agriculture.vic.gov.au/dryseasons. Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes “We’ve worked with farmers to develop a program for them to gain access to the information and expertise that they need to manage and prepare for drought and dry seasonal conditions.” “This is about increasing knowledge and capability by encouraging local groups to team with a technical expert to deliver workshops or run events tailored to local needs.”  Quote attributable to Murray Dairy chief executive Jenny Wilson “Last year’s community groups funding program was important to help set our dairy farmers up for managing what are very challenging times for our industry in northern Victoria.”

Road-Train Network Extended For Drought Relief

The Andrews Labor Government is making it easier and safer to deliver grain and hay to drought-affected communities across Australia. Minister for Roads, Road Safety and the TAC Jaala Pulford announced the temporary extension of Victoria’s road-train network to include a southbound route between Charlton and Koondrook in Victoria’s north. Unladen road-trains will now be able to make the southbound journey via Barham and Koondrook to Charlton instead of using the Calder Highway, making it a more efficient return trip for farmers and transport operators. The faster and more direct southbound route will cut three hours or 220 kilometres off the trip – reducing fuel costs and giving truck drivers a quicker journey home. The road-train network covers the North-West of Victoria and is a vital part of our rural economy, making it easier for farmers to move livestock and feed between states. The extension to the network will be in place until the drought breaks. For more information and to view Victoria’s full road-train network visit www.vicroads.vic.gov.au. Quotes Attributable to Minister for Roads, Road Safety and the TAC Jaala Pulford “We’ve listened to what farmers had to say and are acting swiftly to make it easier to deliver grain and hay to drought affected areas that need it most.” “This is a big win for farmers and communities affected by the drought – the more direct route will cut travel times, reduce costs and ensure truck drivers make it home safely.” Quote attributable to Minister for Ports and Freight Melissa Horne “We’re making it easier for rural industry across Australia to get their livestock and fodder where they need to go – supporting our farmers and our economy.” Quote attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes “We’re backing our farmers doing it tough in this extended drought, making sure they have access to the fodder they need to keep their animals healthy and businesses thriving.”

Road-Train Network Extended For Drought Relief

The Andrews Labor Government is making it easier and safer to deliver grain and hay to drought-affected communities across Australia. Minister for Roads, Road Safety and the TAC Jaala Pulford announced the temporary extension of Victoria’s road-train network to include a southbound route between Charlton and Koondrook in Victoria’s north. Unladen road-trains will now be able to make the southbound journey via Barham and Koondrook to Charlton instead of using the Calder Highway, making it a more efficient return trip for farmers and transport operators. The faster and more direct southbound route will cut three hours or 220 kilometres off the trip – reducing fuel costs and giving truck drivers a quicker journey home. The road-train network covers the North-West of Victoria and is a vital part of our rural economy, making it easier for farmers to move livestock and feed between states. The extension to the network will be in place until the drought breaks. For more information and to view Victoria’s full road-train network visit www.vicroads.vic.gov.au. Quotes Attributable to Minister for Roads, Road Safety and the TAC Jaala Pulford “We’ve listened to what farmers had to say and are acting swiftly to make it easier to deliver grain and hay to drought affected areas that need it most.” “This is a big win for farmers and communities affected by the drought – the more direct route will cut travel times, reduce costs and ensure truck drivers make it home safely.” Quote attributable to Minister for Ports and Freight Melissa Horne “We’re making it easier for rural industry across Australia to get their livestock and fodder where they need to go – supporting our farmers and our economy.” Quote attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes “We’re backing our farmers doing it tough in this extended drought, making sure they have access to the fodder they need to keep their animals healthy and businesses thriving.”

Forrest Mountain Bike Trail On Track With Funding Boost

Mountain bike enthusiasts will soon have new tracks and trails in Forrest thanks to funding from the Andrews Labor Government that will rejuvenate existing tracks and establish new world-class tracks. Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes was in Forrest today to announce $500,000 for the first stage of the town’s Mountain Bike Revitalisation Project under the Labor Government’s Regional Infrastructure Fund. Stage One of the Forrest Mountain Bike Revitalisation Project will deliver new mountain bike trails and rejuvenate existing signature trails to create a network of world-class experiences and build on the recreational tourism assets in the township and surrounding areas. This year’s Regional Infrastructure Fund was advertised through a competitive round-based process, to ensure that high quality projects receive the support they need to deliver much needed infrastructure to regional towns with grants of up to $500,000 available to councils and council-sponsored projects. The Regional Infrastructure Fund is part of the Labor Government’s flagship Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund which helps businesses create more jobs in regional Victoria, supports community projects and assists councils to build the infrastructure locals need. The Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund is a cornerstone of the Government’s record $2.6 billion ‘Delivering for Regional and Rural Victoria Program’ unveiled in last year’s State Budget. The investment is delivering quality education, health, transport and record jobs and keeping the unemployment rate for regional Victoria the lowest regional rate in the country. Information and guidelines for the Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund are available at rdv.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes “Delivering more world-class tracks and trails for mountain bike enthusiasts just adds even more reason to visit and spend time in the Otway Ranges.” “We’re proud to back these upgrades in Forrest that we know will mean so much to the local community.” Quote attributable to Member for Western Victoria Gayle Tierney “This investment is so important for tourism to the region and that means good news for our local economy.”

Forrest Mountain Bike Trail On Track With Funding Boost

Mountain bike enthusiasts will soon have new tracks and trails in Forrest thanks to funding from the Andrews Labor Government that will rejuvenate existing tracks and establish new world-class tracks. Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes was in Forrest today to announce $500,000 for the first stage of the town’s Mountain Bike Revitalisation Project under the Labor Government’s Regional Infrastructure Fund. Stage One of the Forrest Mountain Bike Revitalisation Project will deliver new mountain bike trails and rejuvenate existing signature trails to create a network of world-class experiences and build on the recreational tourism assets in the township and surrounding areas. This year’s Regional Infrastructure Fund was advertised through a competitive round-based process, to ensure that high quality projects receive the support they need to deliver much needed infrastructure to regional towns with grants of up to $500,000 available to councils and council-sponsored projects. The Regional Infrastructure Fund is part of the Labor Government’s flagship Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund which helps businesses create more jobs in regional Victoria, supports community projects and assists councils to build the infrastructure locals need. The Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund is a cornerstone of the Government’s record $2.6 billion ‘Delivering for Regional and Rural Victoria Program’ unveiled in last year’s State Budget. The investment is delivering quality education, health, transport and record jobs and keeping the unemployment rate for regional Victoria the lowest regional rate in the country. Information and guidelines for the Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund are available at rdv.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes “Delivering more world-class tracks and trails for mountain bike enthusiasts just adds even more reason to visit and spend time in the Otway Ranges.” “We’re proud to back these upgrades in Forrest that we know will mean so much to the local community.” Quote attributable to Member for Western Victoria Gayle Tierney “This investment is so important for tourism to the region and that means good news for our local economy.”

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