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Tuesday, 6 October 2020
Page: 24


Mr DRUM (NichollsChief Nationals Whip) (13:56): Last Thursday and Friday I held two virtual manufacturing forums, engaging with some of the Goulburn Valley's biggest employers. On Thursday, we invited those from the food and drink processing and manufacturing industry and put to them: what can we as a government do to help you become stronger, increase productivity and become less reliant on countries who refuse to acknowledge the rule of law when it comes to trading with Australia? Their answers were united: 'Give us water policy security, and get serious about creating more gas,' which is a genuine source of energy for these companies. These are some of regional Victoria's biggest companies, highlighting the damage of having the potential of losing another 450 gigalitres of water hanging over their heads.

The following day we had the engineering and steel fabrication sector on board, and when we asked them what we can do to help that sector, they said, 'It's exactly the same. We need greater water security in our policies, and we need greater certainty when it comes to gas,' and certainly there was incredible support within the industry for our policies involving more gas. The engineering and steel fabrication sector is inexorably linked to the food manufacturing and processing sector, and they are dependent on the agricultural sector, and all these businesses and thousands of jobs within these industries are looking for governments, state and federal, to bring about more water security and more water for agriculture. (Time expired)