Victoria invests in farm success

Posted by Josette Dunn on 24th December 2010

The Coalition Government has signed off on a $73.2 million initiative to safeguard Victoria’s agricultural sector, upgrade infrastructure and improve on-farm productivity and profitability.Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh today announced the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) would expand facilities in regional Victoria and establish a new biosecurity centre of excellence at its existing site in Attwood.

“These investments in facilities, equipment and expertise are needed to help grow and strengthen Victoria’s vital agricultural sector,” Mr Walsh said.

Mr Walsh said $44.5 million will be spent to allow up to 300 staff from across Melbourne to be based at the Attwood complex.

The investment will also create a dedicated incident control centre to co-ordinate response to biosecurity outbreaks such as locusts and equine influenza.

Mr Walsh said an additional $8.3 million would be spent to establish a new DPI centre at Warrnambool, which is a major growth area for the department.

“Weeds, pests and diseases have the potential to strip millions, even billions of dollars from the profitability of the agricultural sector,” Mr Walsh said.

“Our government is committed to providing our scientists and technical experts with the very best conditions and equipment to be able to do their job.”

When Agribio, the Centre for AgriBioscience, at Bundoora is finished late next year, DPI scientists from suburban offices in Knoxfield, Frankston and Attwood will move there.

The expansion of DPI Attwood will ensure staff remaining at the suburban sites have excellent new facilities to move into when the other offices close in a couple of years.

The new Warrnambool facility will accommodate up to 100 staff at a location yet to be determined. It is likely to also house staff from Parks Victoria and the Department of Sustainability and Environment.

“This announcement is a bricks and mortar investment in the future of regional Victoria and the services DPI provides,” Mr Walsh said.

Mr Walsh said an additional $12.4 million would be spent to upgrade and enhance glass house facilities at Hamilton, Horsham and Bundoora and $8 million invested in refurbishment at key regional locations including Tatura and Mildura.