Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed has called on Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford to urgently investigate funding opportunities, for two locally-based programs to help dairy farmers get back on their feet.
It’s on the back of a more than $2.5mill boost to Victoria’s dairy support funding.
Ms Sheed says, while the new funding is welcome, it’s time for the Andrews Labor Government to progress a Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) employment program and the Workbook initiative.
“The circumstance of our dairy farmers in Northern Victoria is significantly more troubling than in other areas of the state, because of the serious impact of temporary water prices, and the roll out of the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
“Quite a few dairy farmers are in a situation where they’ve had to lay off some of their staff, and in some cases, a husband and wife, or both, have had to find employment off the farm, to be in a position to maintain ownership of their property, and meet their current liabilities,” Ms Sheed said.
“The Goulburn Broken CMA, following approaches from both Murray Dairy and City of Greater Shepparton, has proposed an employment program, to be set up locally, to benefit people in these circumstances.
“It was a role successfully undertaken by the organisation during the SPC fruit crisis a number of years ago.
I am concerned funding allocations are being made to various programs, but there has been no indication as to the outcome of this initiative,” Ms Sheed said.
Funding has also been sought through the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DEWLP) and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) for a long-term business planning tool for farmers, known as “Workbook”.
“This has been used in relation to the Goulburn Murray Water Connections project, and has been found to be a successful tool in assisting farmers plan their future,” Ms Sheed said.
“I urge Minister Pulford to support these initiatives, as the Shepparton District community continues to rally around the dairy industry in this difficult time.”
Sueanne McCumstie 0428 743 880│firstname.lastname@example.org