Tuesday 7 February 2017
Daniel Andrews under-funded and over-promised on grants offered to farmers hit by the dairy crisis.
Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said just 332 of Victoria’s 4200 dairy farmers received funding from the Dairy Development Grants Scheme before the grants ran out.
“Victoria’s dairy farmers were handed scraps off the table with this under-funded and over-promised grants scheme ” Mr Walsh said.
“Daniel Andrews has severely misunderstood the needs of dairy farmers hit hard by this crisis if he thinks supporting just eight per cent of farmers to recover is enough.”
Mr Walsh condemned the Andrews Labor Government for releasing the grants at a time when dairy farmers were busy with calving hay and harvest.
“Dairy farmers were under enormous stress adjusting to the milk price downturn and making big decisions about their future ” Mr Walsh said.
“They had no time to complete onerous paperwork quickly and were angered to discover that the funds were fully exhausted in November – just a month after the announcement.”
Mr Walsh said farmers were angered by the “˜first come first served’ availability of the grants and they were not limited to dairy farmers who were most effected by the slashed milk price.
“These grants have amounted to nothing more than a media opportunity for a city-centric Labor Government that clearly has no understanding of one of the biggest industries underpinning the rural economy in Victoria ” Mr Walsh said.
“Daniel Andrews is short-changing dairy farmers at a time when Labor’s policies have sent business’ power bills through the roof.”