Walsh calls for supply chain certainty whilst Victoria gets to grips with COVID-19By Simon Ruppert
State Nationals leader Peter Walsh has called on the government to guarantees that food production and supply will not be restricted under measures imposed to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Mr Walsh said the Federal Government had confirmed agriculture was an essential service, but it was up to each state government to deliver the detail of what this looked like.
He said the lack of clarification from the Victorian Government had spread confusion through the sector.
“If there is going to be food on supermarket shelves, the Victorian Government must provide certainty for all businesses that help grow, process and distribute food, otherwise the shelves will be bare,” Mr Walsh said.
“Chemical suppliers, fodder companies, seed suppliers, shearers, vets, saleyards, abattoirs, trucking companies and all associated industries are waiting on (Mr) Andrews to provide clarity as to whether they are open for business.”
Mr Walsh said farmers did not know how restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19 would affect the agriculture supply chain, including access to fertiliser and chemicals, while farm supply stores and saleyards were lacking guidance on how to comply with the government’s restrictions.
“The food supply chain needs a clear way forward to ensure farmers can continue to stock supermarket shelves,” Mr Walsh said.
“It’s not enough for the Agriculture Minister to say agriculture is ‘important’, but fail to follow up with guarantees it will be protected as an essential service.
“Producers, agricultural suppliers and other businesses that are crucial to the agriculture supply chain must be able to continue their work feeding our state.”