Right to Farm
The VFF works on behalf of members to ensure planning and environmental regulation does not adversely impact the ongoing and productive use of land for the production of food and fibre.
Advocacy includes calling for the State Government to reinstate the Vendor Statement notice (Section 32 Statement of the Sale of Land Act) to advise buyers moving into a farming area about exposure to noise, smell and dust normally produced by agricultural activities.
Rural and Regional Telecommunications
Rural and regional Australians are relatively disadvantaged from participating in contemporary Australian (online) social and business activities because of poor connectivity.
The VFF aims to make Victoria a pilot state for mobile and digital programs that benefit those in agriculture, particularly rural and regional Australia. We will do this through direct federal and state lobbying, an online member campaign and the harnessed support of all telecommunication companies.
The VFF supports the Fair Go Rates system for ratepayer transparency and confidence into the local council rating system.
Recently in Victoria, some rural councils have considered removing the differential rating system in favour of a uniform rate across all properties – be it residential property, commercial, industrial or farmland.
The VFF empowers members through core actions:
- Take action locally – an online campaign that harnesses the local community to send submissions to the council
- Local meetings - to develop a common voice and key messaging on the issue
- Support the instigation of a community group - representing farmers with a lead voice
- Media – creating media attention to bring the rating issue and council governance to the broader community
- Ministerial - meetings to lobby government for a fairer and more equitable rating system.
The State Government has a permanent ban on fracking and a moratorium on conventional onshore gas exploration in Victoria until 2020. Fracking is the term used to extract unconventional gases such as coal seam, tight and shale gas by pumping high-pressure water and chemicals into rock, fracturing it to release trapped gases.
The strongest voice and recognition from the VFF to the State Government was to ban fracking and extend the moratorium on conventional onshore gas exploration in Victoria. In March 2017 the State Government amended legislation that banned fracking and extended the onshore gas moratorium until June 2020.
Fire Services Property Levy
The VFF lobbied the State Government to replace the Fire Services Levy with a more equitable Fire Services Property Levy (FSPL) to be collected through local councils. The VFF influenced the government decision on reducing the FSPL from 52 cents/$1000 of Capital Improved Value to 31 cents, which in 2016-17 has been further reduced to 26 cents in CFA regions and 14.5 cents MFB regions.
This advocacy has collectively saved Victorian farmers $25 million per year.
The VFF has secured a commitment from the State Government to improve water market transparency along with an investment in stock and domestic water infrastructure and irrigation infrastructure.
Murray-Darling Basin Plan
The VFF is working on behalf of its members to obtain a sustainable outcome to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
Consulting with rural communities, politicians and relevant water catchment and environmental agencies, we are aiming for an outcome that supports sustainable growth for the rural communities along the river system – farming and rural towns, the environment and native flora and fauna, and the economy.
The Basin Plan has delivered a water recovery of 2027.6 gigalitres into the Murray-Darling Basin river system and led to positive environmental impacts – conservation areas, waterways, native flora and fauna.
We are calling for the MDBP to halt any further environmental water capture from the basin communities.
In June 2017, the Murray-Darling Basin Ministers agreed to the Sustainable Diversion Limit adjustment mechanism projects – these projects represent significant investment in environmental works and changes to the river operational rules. The agreement should mean avoiding further buy-back to implement the plan.
An independent socio-economic study has been commissioned and will report to the MDB authority in December 2017.
Further consultation is due to occur later in 2017.