2013-11-14 Victorian Farmers Federation supports National Centre for Farmer Health

The partnership between the National Centre for Farmer Health (NCFH) and the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF), Victoria’s peak farmer lobby group, builds upon their strong history together in Victoria in delivering the Sustainable Farm families program to farming families.

Recently the Chief Executive Officer of Western District Health Service, Jim Fletcher, Board member Hugh Macdonald, acting Director NCFH Cate Mercer- Grant , President of the VFF, Peter Tuohey, Policy Manger Darryl Harrison  and Federal Member for Wannon Dan Tehan met to discuss the ongoing importance of farmer health, wellbeing and safety and the subsequent impact of ignoring these important factors on a farm business and in particular its productivity and viability .

Jim Fletcher said “the meeting consolidated a vital industry-agency partnership, with the VFF partnering with us in the delivery of over 40% of our Sustainable Farm Families programs across Victoria.  An important element of this partnership is ensuring that health, wellbeing and safety of farming families and thereby productivity and sustainability of the farm business in Victoria remains on both industry and government policy agendas.”

“The centre has played a key role in helping farming families realise that maintaining their health and safety was a vital part of running a profitable business. The centre has helped farmers realise that if they don’t manage their health then they could end up being unable to manage the farm. It’s a tragedy that this Centre is battling to survive, at a time when farming families need all the support they can get in the face of cuts to traditional regional health services. ” VFF president Peter Tuohey said.

Jim Fletcher also reported to the group that the ‘National Centre for Farmer Health continues to liaise with the Victorian Coalition Government and have received a response from the Premier, Denis Napthine advising that he has requested the Victorian  Minister For Health to  reopen discussions with the  new  Federal coalition government members.  He also reported that he is heartened by recent correspondence from Jaala Pulford, MP Member for Western Victoria, Parliamentary Secretary to the Shadow Minister for Regional and Rural Development and Parliamentary Secretary to the Shadow Minister for Agriculture commending the NCFH on the outstanding work it has undertaken and reiterating the Labor Party’s position as stated in Hansard that restoring funding to the NCFH makes good economic sense, as well as health sense.

Mr. Fletcher said  ‘The support from Dan Tehan, Member for Wannon in attending the VFF  meeting has also been positive, assisting us with paving the way for  future discussions with the National Farmers Federation , the Assistant Minister for Health Senator Fiona Nash  and other  Federal Members.”

The National Centre for Farmer Health continues to lobby the Victorian and Federal Governments to survive and continue its proven and essential services to improve the health, wellbeing and safety of Farm families and workers; thereby contributing to productivity and sustainability of the farm business.

Media Contacts:

Jim Fletcher, Chief Executive Officer – (03) 5551 8215

Tom Whitty, VFF Public Affairs Advisor – 0466 466 035