Drought fund leaves South Gippsland high and dry
The news this week that Melbourne Labor has excluded struggling farmers in South Gippsland from accessing a $10 million drought relief fund shows that the Andrews Labor Government is not listening to concerns from Gippsland.
The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien said Melbourne Labor’s claims that it had conducted an “extensive consultation process” with farmers impacted by dry conditions highlighted its lack of understanding of what was occurring in places like South Gippsland.
“Despite South Gippsland being one of the state’s most productive food bowls and dairy regions, districts like Yanakie have been doing it tough for months but they have been specifically excluded from this drought support fund,” Mr O’Brien said.
“I appreciate that broadacre farms in the north-west of the state have had two or even three years of failed crops and having to feed stock and they deserve the most support. But to leave South Gippsland out altogether is a mistake.”
Mr O’Brien said many farmers had been carting water or were forced to install pumps and several kilometres of poly pipe to deliver stock and domestic water to their farms.
“I wrote to the Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford seeking assistance for farmers who are carting or pumping water and those who are having trouble feeding stock, but this package provides no support for either,” Mr O’Brien said
“I take my hat off to the Yanakie community, and in particular the Progress Association, which has been proactive in supporting its own community by developing an informal water grid.
“Without it, many farms would have run out of water for their stock months ago. I know many farmers have spent tens of thousands of dollars getting water to their farms so I was hopeful that Melbourne Labor would have included South Gippsland in the package,” Mr O’Brien said.
“It’s disappointing that out of a $10 million fund, no one from our area can access this money.”