It’s pleasing to provide comment that the state’s primary industries sector is now worth a record $15.44 billion in 2016-17.This figure represents a 32.4 percent increase in Gross Value of Production (GVP) since 2013-14.
Industry and DPI have been able to capitalise on some favourable conditions and achieve 30 percent growth well ahead of the 2020 target. This is a significant milestone for our rural and regional communities in Barwon that ride high on the continuing success of our primary industries.
A combination of factors has provided a strong tailwind for industry, farmers and DPI to increase the State’s productivity and profitability. These factors have included high commodity prices, a run of exceptional seasonal conditions, strong biosecurity and significant research and development programs. Most importantly, this puts us in a strong position to stand side by side with our farmers as they begin to face some seasonal and economic headwinds.
I know across our electorate the conditions are dry and farmers have to make some tough decisions. This is why we committed $75 million in this year’s budget for concessional loans under the Farm Innovation Fund to assist primary producers prepare for future drought. I am committed to working with producers, stakeholders, communities and industry groups to help ease any impacts over the seasons to come. High performing industries in 2016-17 are:
- Beef cattle (54% growth to $2.38b)
- Wheat (40% growth to $2.61b)
- Cotton (8% growth to $1.40b)
- Wool (39% growth to $1.14b)
- Sheep and goat meat (33% growth to $858m)
- Pulses (624% growth to $810m)
- Forestry (18% growth to $503m)
RETURN AND EARN’S FIRST RETAIL PARTNER
Return and Earn’s Network Operator TOMRA Cleanaway has appointed Woolworths as its first retail partner. This agreement will see up to 180 reverse vending machines positioned at or near Woolworths supermarkets across the state by December 1 with more to come in early 2018. This retail partnership means the scheme will be accessible and easy for people in our electorate to return their empty containers and receive their refund. The reverse vending machines at or near Woolworths supermarkets will make up part of the state’s collection network which will include more than 500 collection points of reverse vending machines and manual collection points. This agreement will provide customers with convenient reverse vending machine locations where they can drop off their containers and then redeem their vouchers at a nearby Woolworths supermarket.
Councils, public land managers and community groups in Barwon can apply for a share of half a Million in grants to help tackle illegal dumping. I believe communities are fed up with illegal dumping. It puts people’s health at risk and contaminates the environment and it also costs our communities millions of dollars every year. A total of $500,000 available for community groups, local councils and public land managers under the Combating Illegal Dumping: Clean-up and Prevention Grant Program to identify local illegal dumping hotspots and assist with clean up and prevention measures on publicly managed land. In the past this grant has funded the installation of CCTV cameras, signage, gates and fences in dumping hotspots across NSW. This program is funded under the NSW Government’s $337 million Waste Less, Recycle More program. For information visit: www.epa.nsw.gov.au/wastegrants/combat-illegal-dump.htm
This month is Mental Health Month and I urge people to connect with others this October to help reduce the stigma around mental health.