Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, is very disappointed that dairy farmers are yet to receive significant Federal Government assistance in response to the dairy crisis. Ms McGowan said the drop in milk price will have a major impact and Government needs to take a much stronger approach to help dairy families in this stressful time.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce visited the area yesterday and offered little to dairy farmers in terms of assistance. Ms McGowan said Government needed to treat the dairy crisis as an emergency.
“During flood or fire, Government provides immediate support for farming families,” Ms McGowan said. “There needs to be financial assistance available now for services to help farmers get through this crisis. Dairy producers in Victoria will be among the hardest hit and support is vital.”
“We need people in cars and boots on the ground to deal with this crisis,” Ms McGowan said. “The response has to be targeted, adequate and swift.”
An increase of funding for rural mental health services and rural financial counselling should be allocated. Ms McGowan also called for the Government to produce a comprehensive Agricultural Industry Policy Statement to guide the sector for the next decade.
“This needs to outline key targets that the Government expects farmers to reach, and how it will work in the next 10 years,” Ms McGowan said. “Agriculture is linked to other sectors. This includes telecommunications, transport and infrastructure, environment and small business.”