The VFF has welcomed the Victorian Government’s drought-support package for farmers doing it tough.
Premier Daniel Andrews, Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford and Water Minister Lisa Neville last week announced a significant package to assist farmers on the ground and in the community.
VFF president Peter Tuohey thanked Mr Andrews for listening to the plight of farmers struggling with what is looking like another failed season.
‘‘We have been calling for assistance on what has been a dire two years in particular for grain growers in the Wimmera-Mallee, so it is pleasing to see our state government listening and taking action,’’ Mr Tuohey said.
‘‘The $1million Drought Employment Package is strongly supported by the VFF.
‘‘In previous drought years, Natural Resource Management employment programs have provided benefits for farmers and farm workers as well as the environment.
‘‘As farmers gain a better handle of what the season outcomes look like, there’s likely to be additional demand for rural financial counselling and support.’’
Mr Tuohey said $270000 to boost support to the counselling service was essential to make sure ‘‘there is someone there to talk to when our members need it’’.
He said particular projects that received community support were the $960000 to support kindergarten participation in drought-affected communities and a further $300000 from the State Schools Relief Program to provide families in drought-affected communities with uniforms, shoes and other school items.
‘‘Support like this proves that our government is listening to key community concerns and is acting in our best interests,’’
Mr Tuohey also welcomed the fast-tracking of water projects to support communities dealing with ongoing dry conditions.
‘‘It’s good to see our state government getting on with the job and building stage one of South West Loddon Rural Water Supply Project.
‘‘This is something we been calling to be addressed for some time.’’
Mr Tuohey said the drought support package did not just support farmers, but also rural communities and their families.
Ms Pulford said the new measures would support local families and help bring communities even closer together.
‘‘This is about making sure our farmers have access to the best information so they can make the best decisions for their families,’’ she said.