As Christmas draws near, the Andrews Labor Government is encouraging Victorians to buy locally to support the state’s farmers, producers and retailers.
Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes today visited Melbourne’s iconic Queen Victoria Market to meet local sellers and producers amid the Christmas trade frenzy.
Victoria is renowned for its quality produce and cheese, ham, wine and cherries are among the hot items this holiday season. Produced by large and small businesses, agriculture exports contributed a record $14.2 billion to the state’s economy in 2018-19.
The ongoing drought in parts of Victoria has made the year difficult for farmers and the Labor Government has committed more than $81 million to support the state’s worst-hit farming businesses and families since September 2018.
This year also saw the Government’s unprecedented $142.5 million investment in the Victorian Budget 2019-2020 to upgrade the state’s biosecurity system and keep our agricultural sector secure, prevent the spread of pests and diseases and ensure our reputation for quality produce.
While many Victorian farmers work vigilantly to keep diseases out, everyone has a role to play in our country’s biosecurity. One of Australia’s biggest biosecurity threats, African swine fever, was recently detected on the country’s doorstep, in Timor Leste and Indonesia.
The disease has wiped out one-quarter of pigs worldwide so it’s vital that Victorians play their part in avoiding an incursion into Australia. When travelling overseas this festive season, be aware and don’t bring any pork products back into Australia.
As noted by Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes
“My one message to everyone this Christmas is ‘buy Victorian’ – whether it’s chops, cheese, cherries or chickpeas, shop local and back our farmers and country communities.”
“Farmers have been doing it tough this year – so we can all give something back by putting their produce on our Christmas tables.”