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Labor refuses drought relief for local farmers

The Andrews Labor Government has refused to help farmers in the Murrindindi and Mansfield shires with ongoing drought and dry conditions following a request made by State Liberal Member for Eildon Cindy McLeish.

In April Ms McLeish called on the Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes to make drought assistance packages available to local farmers in the Murrindindi and Mansfield shires.

“There are a number of financial assistance programs already available through Agriculture Victoria for drought-affected farmers, but none for those are in the shires of Mansfield or Murrindindi.”

“I live on a farm, and I see it daily and I hear it daily too. People ring me, they speak to me on the street or they email me. It is imperative that the government act immediately to make sure that the Murrindindi and Mansfield shires are added to the list of areas where farmers can apply for funding for on-farm infrastructure and emergency water infrastructure.”

In response Ms Symes said local farmers could access the Rural Finance On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme which provides a 25 per cent rebate to farmers for the costs associated with installing on-farm water infrastructure.

However, the Rural Finance website does not list Murrindindi and Mansfield Local Government Areas as being eligible for the scheme.

“Instead of helping farmers in our region, the Minister has not even taken the time to consider my request and has referred local famers to a scheme they can’t access.”

Ms McLeish said the best way the government could assist farmers was by providing shire rate relief in the upcoming state budget.

“We have farmers who are in dire straits, who are worrying about how to pay the bills. They have dwindling incomes and they worry about the next month.”

“Drought-affected farmers have so far been ignored by Daniel Andrews so the upcoming state budget must contain genuine, effective financial relief,” Ms McLeish concluded.

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