Gippsland South The Nationals Agriculture Farmers Drought Gippsland Drought

Our farmers need relief from rates charges

The Nationals’ Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien says Gippsland farmers are being let down while the state Labor government fails to provide further drought relief.

On the first day of State Parliament for 2019 yesterday, Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh asked Premier Daniel Andrews to provide shire rates relief for drought-stricken Gippsland farmers.

It follows calls from many drought affected farmers and families in Wellington Shire for the state government to provide more assistance.

“Shire rates relief is a common sense measure that will go a long way to relieving some of the pressure on our farmers,” Mr O’Brien said.

“This support will ease the financial pressure on farmers and their families, meaning less time worrying about how to pay the bills and more time supporting each other and keeping the business running.

“I’ve repeatedly invited the Premier to come to our region and see the conditions first-hand, but despite visiting the Latrobe Valley five times since drought was declared he’s failed to make it east of Traralgon.

“With the dry conditions predicted to continue, it’s time the Premier actually kept to his promise to ‘govern for all Victorians’ by speaking to our local farmers and providing rates relief.”

The Nationals Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull said with rates now due, the State Government must take action immediately.

“In times of drought, small businesses also suffer as people on the land tighten the belt. This would allow farmers to spend more locally in their area of need and support the business sector in drought impacted areas,” Mr Bull said.

Mr Walsh said farmers wanted common sense support.

“The Premier said he would be happy to sit down and talk ideas and while the Liberal Nationals will take up that offer, we do hope that these two practical measures can be implemented swiftly to bring immediate relief to farmers and our communities that are in dire need,” Mr Walsh said.

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