Dairy Industry Crisis
Since the current price adjustments were announced by Murray Goulburn and Fonterra in early May I have had numerous briefings and discussions with various stakeholders. Our local dairy farmers and associated industries have been delivered some very shocking news and the ramifications continue to unfold. I have spoken to farmers, Murray Goulburn, Agri-business branches, G M Water, Murray Diary, VFF, UDV and Rural Financial Counselling Service, along with other affected individuals and organisations. At this stage it is impossible to quantify the impact on our farmers and our region but we know without a doubt there will be life changing decisions being made by some business and families in our district.
I urge all community members to be conscious and mindful of the challenges being faced and offer support to friends and family where possible. Our district was built on a love and respect of the land, farming and our rural industries and we must continue to work together to ensure we pull through the very difficult times ahead. One of the biggest challenges we face is recognising when we or our neighbours aren’t coping and inevitably will require assistance from professionals, government agencies and others. I encourage farmers to seek assistance and remain engaged in open and constructive discussions with friends, family business associates and government through this challenging period.
Last week I had the pleasure of presenting three Awards to Vision Australia volunteers in Shepparton, during volunteer week. Maria Presti, Geraldine Humphrey and Teresa Manno have all contributed 20 years of service volunteering with Vision Australia Shepparton. It is astonishing to consider the aggregated amount of time, knowledge and skills that are provided to community organisations annually. I congratulate all award recipients during volunteer week in the District of Shepparton who received acknowledgement. I also wish to make mention of the unsung volunteers in our region that continue to selflessly give back to our community. It is the enthusiasm and service of these individuals that makes our district a wonderful place to live.
Minister Allan visit
The budget announcement of an extra train service to Shepparton and improvements to our Railway Station and bus shelters was welcomed news. The Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan visited Shepparton last week to discuss the planned improvements that were announced in the Victorian Budget 2016/17. While this announcement is a positive step forward, there is still much work to do in improving the quality and frequency of the rail services to our region and I will keep advocating strongly for more and better services.