Member of Lions Club – State Parliament
Today’s announcement by Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes of new drought relief measures has fallen well short of farmer expectations with Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, describing it as “disappointingly light”.
“One farmer who is eligible for $2,500 under the Minister’s announcement said ‘I will throw that on the ground in the next two days’.
“He said he was feeding pellets every second day to his sheep at a cost of $1,500 per day and silage the alternate day at a cost of $900 per day,” Mr Bull said.
“That shows you how insignificant this package is, farmers I have contacted this morning just keep telling me it is well short of making any real difference.
“Another who pays $40,000 in rates, said $2,500 was not the support he was expecting.
“The Minister built up expectations of full rate relief this week by saying it was ‘on the table’ in local media during the week.
“To fully subsidise Farm rates in the East Gippsland Shire would have been $4.9million with municipal charges included and in Wellington Shire it is $10.1 million and this would have been a better spend. It is what the farming families wanted – they made this very clear.
“It is also not a lot when you compare the supports that have been provided over the border in NSW.
“Pre-Christmas I was talking to one farmer at the cattle sales who had spent $450,000 on feed since May. That would be well and truly over half a million now. He would only be eligible for the $2,500 payment so that is not going to do much,” Mr Bull said.
“To have the Minister say she will come back in a few months if it hasn’t rained is not good enough, the time for real action was months ago, and at the latest, on her visit today.
“Waiting months again is a sign she does not understand the problem or the urgency,” said Mr Bull.
Friday, February 22, 2019