MR NORTHE (Morwell) (12:52:17): (189) My constituency question is to the Minister for Agriculture in the other place. Minister, what is the latest information in regard to the level of government assistance that is being provided to those organisations who are supporting farming families in the Latrobe Valley and Gippsland region given ongoing drought conditions?
For example, Gippsland Farmer Relief, GFR, has more than 70 volunteers who support our farmers in need. Often these farmers are affected by flood, drought and bushfire, which can lead to mental health issues and financial and business hardship. GFR provide practical assistance through the donation of household assistance hampers and referrals to financial and welfare support. GFR has had its farmer client base treble over the past year—they currently provide help to over 130 farming families. For GFR to be sustainable they desperately require state government funding to employ staff so they can continue to deliver their critical services.
Minister, I therefore ask for your assistance in providing $1.2 million in funding for a two-year pilot program to ensure Gippsland farming families continue to be supported by the Gippsland Farmer Relief organisation.