Minister must come with drought support
The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien says State Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes must bring an announcement of municipal rates relief if she is to visit Gippsland next week.
Ms Symes told ABC radio yesterday that she will be visiting Gippsland next week.
Mr O’Brien said it was beyond time for the Minister to be on a fact-finding mission and she must come with genuine help for local farmers.
“I’ve been speaking with local farmers, particularly in the Giffard and surrounding districts this week and the level of despair has risen,” Mr O’Brien said.
“The hot weather and this week’s howling winds have caused significant further damage to properties south of Sale and farmers are at their wits ends about how they will recover.
“The Nationals have been calling for some time for the state government to offer municipal rate relief as the most equitable and practical support that the state can offer.
“It is very disappointing that the Premier has been to Gippsland five times since the state government acknowledged the drought, yet not once has he been beyond Traralgon to the worst affected areas.
“While we appreciate that Ms Symes is relatively new to the role, she has visited Gippsland in the role before and we need to now see some action.
“I’m very concerned at the deepening of the drought in recent weeks and the effect not only on local farmers, but on the local business community.
“As I travel around businesses in Sale and other towns are reporting that they are feeling the pinch because of the deepening drought.
“It’s time now for the Andrews Labor Government to put in place real measures of support.
“The comparison between what Victoria is offering and the support being provided by the NSW Government is not favourable for the Andrews Labor Government.”