Parliament

Drought Assistance

August 22, 2018

Adjournment

My adjournment matter is for the Premier, and the action I seek is that he offer meaningful support to farmers in my electorate who are extremely anxious about the extended dry weather conditions and fodder shortage.

A perfect storm is brewing in northern Victoria.

Queensland and New South Wales have been in drought for several years and Victorian farmers have been sending fodder north to them. As a result our fodder storages are now depleted, and the lack of rain means this year's fodder crops could fail entirely. This is the time that farmers plan for the season ahead and how best to manage the dry conditions they are facing. We are hearing that some dairy farmers are already culling their herds because of the threat that they are facing from the impending fodder shortage. We do not want to be in a position where our farmers cannot feed their own stock because of a lack of government action.

Farmers in my community need more irrigation water to be made available to them now so they can grow out the crops that are already in the ground so as to be able to feed their own stock but also to continue to supply fodder to drought-affected areas to the north. We know that there is water in the hands of the Victorian state government, whether it is through holdings with various water authorities, the Victorian Environmental Water Holder or other savings in the system. I urge the government to establish a task force to identify what water can be made available to irrigation communities now and to devise a methodology to ensure that that water goes to those who will use it for fodder production. Too often governments wait to see what happens next rather than planning for what could be an imminent crisis, and I ask the Premier to take this on board and act now.

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