The Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce has responded to Independent Member for Indi Cathy McGowan’s call for action to assist Indi dairy farmers.
A roundtable meeting will be held in Tangambalanga in the Kiewa Valley on 12 December at 10.30am. It will address the long delays dairy farmers are facing to access emergency financial assistance.
“It’s time now for action to fix the delays,” Ms McGowan said.
“The dairy industry is vital to Indi and to the national economy. The government needs to look after our dairy farmers and their families, many of whom are in serious distress.”
The meeting will bring together Senator Bridget McKenzie on behalf of the Minister, local dairy farmers, dairy industry representatives, the Department of Human Services and Ms McGowan.
“I am looking forward to welcoming Senator Bridget McKenzie to Indi. It is good to see the Nationals responding to the plea for help from the farmers,” Ms McGowan said.
“Securing this face to face conversation between people who are affected and the people who can make decisions is the most effective approach.
“Farmers have been reporting to me great frustration in applying for Farm Household Assistance.
“There are delays of up to 20 weeks for applications to be processed. The process is too complex and slow. Completing it online is difficult for people without adequate access to the internet.
“Senator McKenzie will hear first-hand about the hardship the delays have caused dairy farmers who are dealing with an incredibly tough time in the industry.
“Action is needed to provide the resources to get the money flowing where it is needed without adding to the farmers’ distress. Farmers will be looking for a commitment to that action following the meeting.”
Farmers can call Agriculture Victoria’s hotline on 132 316 to check the status of their claims.
Anyone wishing to attend the meeting should contact the electorate office in Wodonga on 02 6024 6284 to express their interest.