Drought funding for northern Victoria

By Country News

The Victorian Government will provide payments of up to $2500 to young dairy farmers or to dairy farmers who receive the Farm Household Allowance in northern Victoria.

The grants are a part of a $13million package to help ease the financial burden of the unprecedented conditions.

A further $1million will be provided for a Drought Hardship Fund, which will provide additional payments to farmers who are struggling but don’t qualify for a Drought Hardship Support Payment.

The relief package is in addition to the $30million announced late last year for farmers and communities in central and east Gippsland and in northern and north-west Victoria.

The government will also provide $5million to extend the On-Farm Drought Infrastructure Grants program, which has provided almost 2500 farmers across Gippsland and northern Victoria with grants of up to $5000 for on-farm infrastructure to improve drought preparedness and management.

Shadow Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh has criticised the amount of funding.

‘‘The drought package announced by the Victorian Government today (February 22) is a disappointing token gesture,’’ Mr Walsh said.

‘‘The package is a long way short of what farmers have been calling for and what they were expecting.

‘‘This is a $13million Band-Aid and it’s grossly inadequate in the context of the catastrophic conditions that have been slowly crushing our farmers for months now.’’