23 October 2018
VFF welcomes farm safety and skills commitments
The Victorian Farmers Federation has welcomed the Victorian Government’s announcement of a $20 million
commitment for skills and safety initiatives contained in the new ‘Victorian Agriculture Skills Statement:
Smarter, Safer Farms’ released today.
The package includes plans for the establishment of a Farm Safety Council in partnership with the VFF, and
other bodies, to oversee implementation of $10 million in safe farming initiatives, as well as $10 million to
establish a Farm Skills Victoria initiative to focus on skills development and uptake in the sector.
VFF President David Jochinke said farm safety and skills development had been identified as key areas of
need in the VFF's election campaign.
“The announcement of the $10 million Farm Safety Council and associated package to be implemented in
partnership with the VFF, is in line with one of VFF’s key election asks – which is to address the need for
industry and farmer-led cultural and behavioural change when it comes to farm safety,” said Mr Jochinke.
“The fact that more than half of workplace deaths in Victoria occurred on farms last year, and that
agriculture has one of the worst health and safety records of all industries, means significant investment in
farmer-led initiatives which promote this cultural change is needed.
“Accidents, injury and deaths on farm are not acceptable. For too long the Victorian agriculture sector has
put this in the too hard basket – shying away from having the tough conversations. A strong safety culture
requires behavioural and cultural change.
“In seeking to address these issues, the VFF has emphasised the need for on farm health and safety
initiatives that are farmer-led to ensure adoption, acceptance, relevance and buy-in from farmers around
the state. We welcome the opportunity to drive change via the safety council.
“We welcome also the government commitment to establish the Farm Skills Victoria initiative to focus on
skills development and uptake in the sector, as well as $2.5 million in funding for AgTech Innovation
initiatives at Longerenong College.
“While we welcome the government’s announcement, we are also encouraging them to listen be guided by
the state’s farmers to ensure the measures introduced are what is needed and make a genuine difference in
promoting smarter, safer farms.”
David Jochinke, Victorian Farmers Federation President, 0427 834 524
Andrew MacDonald, Stakeholder Media & Communications Advisor, 0418 282 875
About the VFF
The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) is dedicated to representing the interests of farmers and making a
positive difference to their businesses and communities. We strive to create an environment for our
members, our farmers, that enables profitable, safe, sustainable production to ensure an enduring social
licence in a community that respects and values the sector.