Federal drought funding must be available now
Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed is calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to bring forward drought assistance funding to support Victorian farmers.
Ms Sheed has co-signed a letter with the Premier of Victoria, the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the Nationals asking the Federal Government to immediately release monies from the Future Drought Fund which is currently due to begin in 2020.
“While Northern Victoria is not yet officially in drought, there’s no doubt we’re experiencing drought-like conditions and dairy farmers are doing it really tough,” Ms Sheed said.
“I hear it from farmers across the Shepparton District all the time – they’re facing minimal rainfall, scarce fodder availability and temporary water prices so high they are unaffordable, and all the while they’re in debt to the bank and owe thousands of dollars in council rates and fixed water prices.
“If you look at conditions on both sides of the Murray River there’s little difference yet Victoria doesn’t seem to be on the Federal Government’s drought agenda.
“Next year will be too late for too many and we need the Prime Minister to realise our farmers are struggling and to take action now.”
Ms Sheed said she welcomed the Victorian Government’s assistance package but warned more support would be needed if conditions worsened.
“I’ve been talking to the Government since the middle of last year about the need to address the impact of ongoing dry conditions in the region and it is really pleasing to see we are being listened to,” Ms Sheed said.
“What we need most is rain, but in the absence of that we need government to do what it can to put some extra money into farmers’ pockets that they can spend as they see fit.
“This package isn’t going to be a silver bullet, but at times like these every dollar counts.”
Riahn Smith 0419 138 978│firstname.lastname@example.org