THE Democratic Labour Party (Labour DLP) is dismayed at the plight of food growers in Victoria as a result of destructive policies from successive governments which have led to the demise of farming and the flow-on effect of lost jobs in rural and regional Victorian communities.
Labour DLP Candidate for Northern Victoria, Chris McCormack said, “In the year 2000, there were 12,896 registered dairy farms in Australia. Last year there were 5,789.
“This decimation of the industry has been brought about by deregulation of the dairy industry and deregulation of water. The price of temporary water rose 900 percent between 2012-2015 and in some cases is now selling for over $300 per megalitre which is making farming unsustainable while water barons profiteer.”
Labour DLP believes in giving farmers back useable and affordable water allocations by immediately ceasing all water buy-backs, reviewing all water acts and an immediate moratorium on the Murray Darling Basin Plan, with those adversely affected compensated.
“So-called ‘environmental flows,’ lacking any scientific basis, whereby up to 70 percent of water stored in reservoirs is sent out to sea is an absolute disgrace and must be reversed,” Mr McCormack said.
Shepparton is among the top 20 highest youth unemployment hotspots in Australia, at 16.1 percent unemployment. Labour DLP believes in encouraging manufacturing and business in the regions through the abolition of payroll tax and industry-specific incentives, making power affordable and reliable and building new dams to drought proof Victoria. These are essential if Victorian jobs are to survive long-term.
Building new high efficiency, low emissions coal power stations, and encouraging co-operatives through laws such as in Italy where any company for sale must first be offered to its employees, along with other government incentives, would be a good start to arresting the decline of regional areas.
Labour DLP is standing in 23 lower house seats and all upper house regions of Victoria in the November state election. The Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District’s relies on low-cost, plentiful water for its survival. Job creation in regional Victoria through affordable water, power and reduced business costs is a Labour DLP priority. Should it have members in parliament after November, it will vigorously pursue legislative change in this area.