Gippsland South The Nationals Dairy Farmers

Labor’s dairy grants under-funded and over-promised

Daniel Andrews under-funded and over-promised on grants offered to farmers hit by the dairy crisis.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, said just 332 of Victoria’s 4200 dairy farmers received funding from the Dairy Development Grants Scheme before the grants ran out.

Mr O’Brien said farmers were angered by the ‘first come, first served’ availability of the grants which were not limited to farmers most affected by the slashing of milk prices last year.

“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.

“I regularly keep in touch with farmers, major banks and rural financial counsellors and I have heard just this complaint from farmers in the Gippsland South electorate. For many, the grants ran out before they’d even heard of their availability.”

Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Peter Walsh, said Victoria’s dairy farmers were handed scraps off the table with this under-funded and over-promised grants scheme.

“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 O’Brien has joined Mr Walsh in condemning the Andrews Labor Government for releasing the grants at a time when dairy farmers were busy with calving, hay and harvest.

“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.

“Daniel Andrews is short-changing dairy farmers at a time when Labor’s policies have sent business’ power bills through the roof.” 

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