Flood and storm-affected farmers left stranded

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien is frustrated by the Allan Labor Government’s failure to provide financial support for local farmers impacted by natural disasters such as the Boxing Day floods and February storm events.

Speaking in Parliament earlier this year, Mr O’Brien called on the Minister for Emergency Services to lobby for changes to current disaster recovery funding arrangements that operate between state and federal governments.

Mr O’Brien highlighted that the current arrangements set a threshold for a particular percentage of farmers in a given local government area to be affected before there will be any state or federal government assistance.  This may include clean-up grants such as those provided after the 2021 storms.

“The threshold arrangements are not fair because if there are 10 farmers whose creek has burst its bank, which happened in the Woodside area, for example – they get nothing, because they do not reach the threshold.

“If there are 300 farmers suffering the same impact individually, then there might be assistance triggered.  From an equity point of view, that makes no sense.”

Mr O’Brien said the response from the Minister admits that the current disaster recovery funding arrangements guidelines often exclude primary producers who are impacted by localised disasters from receiving support but also fails to offer any solution.

“I am very disheartened that the Minister seems content to leave these primary producers in the lurch. I know of farmers who suffered $50,000 damage and more in the Boxing Day floods and the February storm event in South Gippsland.

“Primary producers must of course be resilient and plan for weather events themselves, but sometimes the scale of damage is beyond any planning or available insurance.

“That’s where government support should be available, irrespective of whether there are 10 farmers impacted, or 100.

“It is extremely disappointing that the Allan Labor Government does not seem interested in ensuring that these funds go where they are most needed.”


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