Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is hoping to muster support from the agriculture sector with an $11.2 million education, training and workplace safety package.
Joined by wife Cath and sons Noah and Joseph, Mr Andrews boarded his Labor campaign bus and headed away from the Melbourne Cup action on Tuesday morning to Maroona, in the safe Nationals seat of Lowan in western Victoria.
Mr Andrews announced $1.2 million to expand certificate three shearing courses for the public training system.
“While wool prices have been very good and wool exports in (20)16/17 accounted for the best part of almost $2 billion in wool exports, we have a shortage of qualified shearers and it’s one of those areas where government can step in and make a profound difference with training,” he told reporters.
The course would not be a part of the government’s free Tafe program revealed during the May budget.
It will come in addition to existing shearing courses, will be established by 2020, and be able to be completed in a year.
Tuesday’s promises also included $6 million to upgrade student accommodation and facilities at Longerenong , Dookie and Glenormiston agricultural colleges; $500,000 for young farmer scholarships; $500,000 for digital agriculture practices; and $3 million to improve health and safety on farms.
“There is an absolutely heartbreaking statistic … Victorian farmers represent around three per cent of the state’s workforce, they represent more than 50 per cent of workplace fatalities,” Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford said.
“What this means is lives lost, families destroyed, livelihoods impacted by injury and it’s just not good enough.”
Mr Andrews also promised a parliamentary review of farming council rates.
The Labor bus will make another stop in regional Victoria on Tuesday before heading to a venue for Mr Andrews to watch the Melbourne Cup.
The Liberals also left Melbourne on Tuesday, heading to Drouin to promise $2 million to relocate and rebuild the Drouin Ambulance Station.
“It’s a small but very important announcement,” Mr Guy said.
“Not only will West Gippsland get a new hospital but an ambulance station too.”
The town has recently experienced population growth, jumping 17 per cent in the last 12 months to 17,000.
Mr Guy confirmed Prime Minister Scott Morrison would join the Victorian campaign trail soon.
Mr Morrison is currently campaigning in Queensland, where there is no election but there are several seats at stake for the federal coalition.
Victorians have until 8pm Tuesday to ensure they are enrolled to vote in this month’s state election.
Enrolment is compulsory for Australian citizens aged 18 and older, and failing to do so earns a $161 fine.
Early voting starts November 12 with a huge spike in pre-polling expected this election.
(Source: Victorian Electoral Commission)