The Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie last night questioned the recently announced cancellation of many Year of the Farmer activities at Senate Estimates in Canberra.
“The Innovation and Technology Expo in Melbourne in December was the cornerstone event on the Year of the Farmer calendar,” Senator McKenzie said.
“Now it appears the organisers of the Year of the Farmer have run into financial troubles and Victorians are the ones who will miss out.
“This comes despite the Federal Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry supporting the Year of the Farmer with $1.2mn in earmarked funds,” Senator McKenzie said.
Departmental officials told the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee that despite a strong roster of commercial support, the organisers behind the Year of the Farmer events had overstretched their capacity and have had to pull back.
The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry provided seed funding to establish 2012 as the Year of the Farmer.
Then in March, a further $500,000 in funding was announced by the Minister – despite the Department having not yet assessed whether the expenditure of the initial funding indicated the idea would be a success.
“Their poor process meant that the government didn’t even know whether it was throwing good money after bad,” Senator McKenzie said.
“It is disappointing that such a great idea, with fantastic corporate and community support, has not come to a more positive conclusion.
“The Year of the Flop – as it has been called by The Weekly Times – is no indication of the passion and commitment of those who work hard to put food on the table of ordinary Australians right across the country each week.
“Every year should be celebrated as Year of the Farmer.”