Farmers, specifically in the north-west Millewa and Goulburn- Murray district facing drought and dry conditions – will get the extra support they need, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government drought relief funding to help farming families and communities doing it tough.
Member for Northern Victoria, Mark Gepp MP welcomed the $31.6 million drought assistance package announcement which will support farmers in areas hit hardest by dry conditions – particularly targeted at the Millewa, as well as East and Central Gippsland and the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District (GMID).
Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes visited the hardest hit farmers last week, and announced more than $31 million in funding as part of the relief package.
The Labor Government will establish a $15 million Farmers’ Drought Fund to help farming businesses and families that need it most, alleviating some of the immediate burden while also ensuring farmers have the long-term support they need for the coming months and years.
The fund will provide household financial relief for families in the Millewa and other areas hit hard by drought – with $3 million to deliver hardship payments of up to $3,000 per family, taking pressure off household costs.
Approximately half of farmers in the Millewa took up the current drought infrastructure grant program to reduce their bills, save energy and store water – the Farmers’ Drought Fund continues that work, with $12 million in grants to ensure the long-term future of farming with drought infrastructure and business planning.
The package also includes $5.2 million in Local Government Service Support Payments, which will be provided to Mildura Shire as well as in Gippsland to help councils meet the immediate needs of their communities.
The Catchment Management Authority’s Drought Employment Program will receive a $4.6 million boost to roll-out fully in the Millewa and Goulburn Murray Irrigation District – giving farmers and their employees, access to off-farm employment and training.
The Government has listened to what local farmers need and will work with the Victorian Farmers Federation to provide vouchers to farms across the region to maintain essential machinery and equipment.
The package will also provide $2.3 million in farm business management and planning support.
Mental health services will receive a boost with and additional $2 million funding, plus $1.25 million for local projects and events to help keep communities strong.
The package complements drought funding recently announced by the Federal Government. The Victorian Labor Government welcomes this funding, particularly the changes to the Farm Household Allowance that make it easier for Victorian farmers to access.
Quote attributable to Mark Gepp MP, Member for Northern Victoria
“The past two seasons have been particularly tough for farmers in Northern Victoria. Not only will this package provide immediate financial relief and equipment upgrades for farmers in the Millewa and Goulburn Murray region; but we’re backing them for the long-term with skills, training and support to get through future dry conditions.”
“Farmers are the heart of Australia’s agriculture industry which generates around $5.9 billion worth of production a year, provides many jobs and puts food on our plates.”
“We will continue to work alongside the Commonwealth, councils and communities to ensure our farmers are getting the support they need.”