Victorian farm safety grant funding pool expands under huge demand
The Victorian government has expanded the funding for its farm safety grants program, with the Victorian Farmers Federation noting the extra $2 million is to meet demand from those that applied before the due date.
The VFF said in a statement provided to FlowNews24:
"A big win for farmers after the Victorian Government announced an extra $2m for the Farm Safety Rebate Scheme yesterday.
"The VFF has been calling for the additional funding to meet the huge demand.
"Please note, this funding will be used to meet all eligible applications that were received by the initial closing date.
"The VFF will continue to lobby for extra funding to service all applications."
The Andrews Labor Government announced on Thursday it would expand the funding pool for its Farm Safety Rebate Scheme.
On the Flow Morning Show, host Wayne Phillips reviewed the state of farm safety initiatives in Australia and across the board - the article continues further below:
Last week, the Country Women's Association in Victoria marked the imminent Mothers' Day weekend with a call for improved farm safety. CWA Victoria president Marion Dewar said:
“Parents who work on farms are the backbone of this industry, but they’re also responsible for caring for children while running the farming business and often even working in other jobs.
“Incidents on farms overwhelmingly injure and kill men, which places an enormous strain on women and families, who must cope with loss of income, loss of support and disruption to succession planning.
“When a Victorian dairy farmer was killed in a tractor rollover some years ago, his wife and their two young children were left with an immeasurable burden. I can’t imagine what would have happened to the farming business if CWA members had not stepped in to help the farmer’s wife, their in-laws and young family continue daily operations.
“Immediately after the tragedy, CWA members milked the cows and provided meals for the family in order to ease the burden of daily work that inevitably fell on their shoulders.
“For many years that farmer’s wife was responsible for the farm business and her family, showing incredible resilience in her ability to adapt to the devastating shift in circumstances, but she needed her children to help on the farm after school and on weekends to make ends meet.
“Before all this, she thought a farm incident would never happen to them.”
Victoria's initial $3 million scheme was extremely popular with Victorian farmers, with an overwhelming demand for applications.
Minister for Agriculture Mary-Anne Thomas said the $2 million would meet all eligible applications that were received by the closing date.
“We’re answering the call from our farmers by investing an extra $2 million in the Farm Safety Rebate Scheme to deliver safety on farms.”
“Safer farms mean safer farmers, families, employees, suppliers and contractors and this is vital to ensuring our agriculture sector continues to thrive.”
The scheme provides rebates of up to $5,000 to improve safety on farm – with the existing funds committed in five weeks. More than 800 applications were received across 45 local government areas.
Examples of equipment and infrastructure that were eligible for the rebate include child safety fencing, animal handling equipment, dedicated chemical storage sheds and wash stations, emergency shut off switches and reversing cameras for tractors and vehicles.
The expanded grant forms part of the government's $20 million Smarter, Safer Farms commitment to improve safety and skills for Victorian farmers.
Kidsafe are also delivering a child safety on farms competition and social media campaign over three years through Victoria’s primary schools, which includes parent and class resources. There are a range of child safety resources including the Farm Safety Checklist and a Parent’s Guide to Kidsafe Farms.