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File photo: Independent Member for Morwell Russell Northe

Latrobe drought help call

Latrobe drought help call

File photo: Independent Member for Morwell Russell Northe

Northe calls for drought help in the Latrobe Valley

The Member for Morwell Russell Northe is pressuring the state government to extend drought support measures to the Latrobe Valley.

Mr Northe told parliament some assistance has rightly been announced for farmers in the Wellington and East Gippsland shires but the drought doesn’t have an arbitrary line at Council boundaries.

“Over the past few months I have received many calls and emails from local farmers who are doing it tough due to these awful drought conditions, and it is heartbreaking to hear of their pain”, said Mr Northe.

“I’ve been calling for measures to be put into place for months.

“The reality is that we have farmers on the ground who have very little feed and water for their animals, and even if they can get their hands on feed - the price can well be out of their reach”.

“Whilst some Government assistance and support has been announced for farmers based in Wellington and East Gippsland Council areas, and rightly so, the facts are that this drought doesn’t have an arbitrary line at Council boundaries”, Mr Northe said.

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“In some cases in our region, we have the situation whereby a farmer on one side of the road is eligible for Victorian Government assistance, yet the farmer on the other side of the road is not, and this is simply due to which Council area they reside in”, Mr Northe explained.

Mr Northe said Latrobe City farmers are excluded from Victorian Government relief programs including:
- Pasture Recovery and Management Grant Program
- On-Farm Drought Infrastructure Support Grants
- Farm Business Assistance Program

Mr Northe has also requested the State Government provide Local Government rate relief for Latrobe City farmers.

“The many farmers I have spoken to within the Morwell electorate are not only saying these are the worst conditions they have ever seen, they are also telling me the most practical support that can be provided is to be exempt from paying Council rates for 12 months”, said Mr Northe.

“This is where we need the State Government to step up to the plate and provide real tangible and worthwhile assistance to our farmers - who need help right now”.

“In 2008, the State Government provided rate relief to Latrobe City farmers and now in the very worst of conditions these same supports should be applied”, said Mr Northe.

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