Tuesday 21 June 2016
Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford has refused to answer how her State Government will further support Victoria’s dairy farmers despite her complaints that the Federal Government’s $579 million assistance package is not enough.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce announced a $555 million concessional loans scheme last month after Murray Goulburn and Fonterra unexpectedly slashed milk prices.
Extra Rural Financial Counselling services are available and dairy families can also now receive the Commonwealth Government’s $1000 per fortnight Farm Household Allowance payments.
Victoria was immediately allocated $30 million for initial concessional loan demand with further funds available to be allocated when needed.
However Ms Pulford stalled the process to roll out the loans and instead focused on petty political games.
Today in the Legislative Council The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath asked what was missing from the Commonwealth package but the Minister refused to provide an answer.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh
“When put on the spot and asked what else the Andrews Labor Government planned to do to assist dairy farmers Ms Pulford arrogantly refused to answer.”
“The $11.4 million of state and industry funds Ms Pulford has announced so far is of course welcome but there is more that the State Government could do.
“Farmers have requested direct financial support like rates rebates which were last week requested by Gannawarra and Campaspe shires and water charge waivers.
“So far Ms Pulford has ignored these calls from the very farmers she claims to represent and instead focused on grubby political games.”