Members Statement – Drought Assistance
9 February 2019
Mr Walsh : I raise the plight of the dairy farmers in northern Victoria. Consumers take for granted the dairy products-the milk the cheese the yoghurt-they have in their supermarkets but every day dairy farming families have to live with the stress of trying to keep their cows fed and producing milk for those particular products. High water costs high grain costs and high hay costs are forcing many of these families to consider exiting the industry. That not only affects those families but it also has an impact throughout our communities-less students in our schools and less people in our sporting clubs and community organisations. Farmers are telling me that the time for talking is over; they need real help now. They do not need more workshops on how to manage drought and they do not need more counselling services. What they actually need is real financial support now. Two weeks ago I asked the Premier a question about this particular issue and the next day I met with his advisers to talk about and explain the dire situation these people are in. There has still been no action. Those dairy farmers other irrigation farmers and dryland farmers in northern Victoria need urgent assistance with a shire rates subsidy program and irrigators particularly need fixed charges for the payment of water to Goulburn-Murray Water. That was done in the millennium drought and it can be done again. I call on the Premier to actually support those farmers in Victoria who provide that great product that goes into our supermarkets and give them real financial help.