Member of Lions Club – State Parliament
Farmers from across East Gippsland have this week been able to share views on their plight and raise ideas to assist with current drought conditions with Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh.
Mr Walsh was in the area on invitation from Gippsland East Nationals MP Tim Bull, meeting with farmers on-site in Orbost and Briagolong and attending the store cattle sale in Bairnsdale today, following on from discussions in Bairnsdale last night.
“We met with farmers from the Orbost, Bairnsdale, Buchan, Tambo Valley, Maffra, Heyfield and Briagolong areas to hear how they are managing through these difficult times, and what they thought of the measured announced earlier this week,” Mr Walsh said, following on from visits in the Sale district.
“Tim has been relentless in advocating for East Gippsland farmers in parliament all year. He and Danny O’Brien have kept The Nationals team well-informed as the situation has worsened in Gippsland, but it is always good to get on the ground and get a first-hand experience when it comes to issues like drought.”
Mr Bull said matters raised at the various forums were similar to what he had heard during previous on-farm meetings over recent weeks.
“While some State support was announced this week, $5 million is light-on and farmers told us they still see shortfalls.
“For instance, permits to control native wildlife are still not being processed while kangaroos, ducks, wombats, etc. are decimating crops. This is a resourcing issue and could have been fixed in days, but three weeks later farmers are still waiting and seeing crops disappear.
“It is also clear the permits finally come, they are being issued for small numbers and it is not making any significant difference. Farmers are getting permits for a fraction of what they ask for.
“To fix this costs nothing and is simply a decision to allocate resource and it should have been addressed by now after the Minister was told three weeks ago.
“Much of the discussion related to the need for further infrastructure supports and the troubles facing farmers in accessing hay and fodder.”
Mr Bull said he was thankful for meaningful discussions with the farmers.
“It was helpful to get so many different views and I thank all for being so open and honest about their personal situations and challenges, which Mr Walsh and I will take back to Parliament,” he said.
Caption: Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh and Gippsland East Nationals MP Tim Bull with local farmers Max Treasure and Brian Fechner at today’s store cattle sale in Bairnsdale.
Friday, September 14, 2018