Member for Morwell Russell Northe has again highlighted the State Government’s dismissive and seemingly disrespectful treatment of Latrobe Valley farmers. Speaking post a number of visits to Latrobe Valley farms yesterday, Mr Northe has repeated calls for the State Government to provide appropriate drought support for local farming families.
“Whilst visiting those on the land in the Latrobe Valley, it’s clear to see that severe drought conditions continue, and we desperately need to get meaningful support on the ground to ensure our farmers are able to survive such tough conditions”, Mr Northe said.
Thankfully we have a number of local charitable organisations who have stepped into assist our farmers, but we also desperately need the State Government to make its drought support programs more equitable and to also introduce new initiatives such as Municipal Rate Relief across the region.
As it stands Latrobe City based farmers have been excluded from accessing multiple State Government drought support programs, and despite many farmers stating these are the worst and most prolonged drought conditions they have seen, the Municipal Rate Relief program which was in place in 2008, has not been enacted.
Mr Northe has visited many farming families over previous months including yesterday’s visits and he said it is heart-breaking to hear the many stories of suffering and pain that these families are experiencing at present.
“Whilst I appreciate the State Government can’t simply wave a wand and fix these issues, I sincerely believe they can’t continue to ignore the impacts this devastating drought is having upon our community, and it must put real and practical measures in place to help Latrobe Valley and Gippsland based farming families in their time of need”, Mr Northe said.
“I remain extremely disappointed that following multiple letters to the Minister and multiple speeches in Parliament by myself and other Members of Parliament that the plight of Gippsland farmers is being ignored” said Mr Northe.
“If the Government believes its current drought relief supports and programs are sufficient then they are completely out of touch, and I invite the Minister to join with me in visiting a few local farms so she can see first-hand the real impacts of this drought” Mr Northe concluded.