The announcement of a $1.5 million dairy assistance package is a positive first step for Gippsland dairy farmers facing the current milk price crisis. We all stand ready to work with the Government to help our farmers get through this.
This funding seeks to support the mental health needs of farmers during a difficult time and provides assistance for social and community events.
The State Government now needs to focus on providing farmers with business counselling and support so as they can get the expert financial advice they need to move forward.
This is a deeply stressful time for many in the region and funding now needs to be made available for professional business planners and the Rural Financial Counselling service to work with famers and their families to establish individualised forward planning strategies.
It is essential that our farmers are offered adequate support throughout this crisis and I encourage those with immediate financial concerns to contact the free and confidential Rural Financial Counselling service in Gippsland.
I am pleased that just yesterday the Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce met with Gippsland dairy farmers to hear first-hand their concerns and pledged to work with the Federal Opposition during the election caretaker period to ensure farmers receive the support they need.
Rural Financial Counselling can be contacted in on 5662 2566.
Dairy farmers and their families seeking help can phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.