Farmers and regional communities in Gippsland will benefit from a new $200 million Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund that will drive economic growth, create jobs and boost exports from paddock to port.

Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing, said the new $200 million Fund, which will be established following the successful passage of the Port of Melbourne lease legislation through the Parliament, will support investment in agricultural infrastructure and supply chains to boost productivity, increase exports and reduce costs so our farmers, businesses and industries can stay competitive.

It will be available for practical projects and programs that wholly benefit the agriculture sector including transport, irrigation, and energy projects, as well as skills development programs and market access campaigns.

Eligible applicants will include farm businesses, industry and agribusiness organisations, as well as asset owners such as water authorities and local government.

Agriculture and our farming families sit at the heart of rural and regional Victoria, with our food and fibre industry contributing more than $11 billion to our economy and employing more than 87,000 people.

This Fund will ensure we’re investing in the infrastructure we need to help our farmers and producers in Gippsland get their goods to market faster so they can take advantage of new local and international opportunities.

Leasing the Port of Melbourne will make our port even better for farmers in Gippsland, increasing efficiencies and competitiveness, including a significant benefit from the Port’s decision to implement an export discount.

The Fund will be established following the successful passage of the Delivering Victorian Infrastructure (Port of Melbourne Lease Transaction) Bill 2015 which the Liberals and Nationals voted against in the Parliament.

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing

“This new Fund will invest in critical infrastructure, providing concrete benefits to the many thousands of hard-working farmers and primary producers in Gippsland.”

“Before the election, we promised that a Labor Government would lease the Port of Melbourne. We are working to deliver on that promise and to ensure our local farming and regional communities in Gippsland get the support they need.”

“This Fund will give our local regional and farming communities the right infrastructure to capitalise on new opportunities to grow and remain competitive.”