Drought assistance

Drought declaration now needed across Euroa

20 April 2016

Tuesday 19 April 2016

Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan has called on the Victorian Government to drought declare communities across the Euroa electorate.

Ms Ryan extended an invitation to Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford in Parliament last week to visit farmers in the region to hear about the pressures they are facing.

“Rainfall data from right across the electorate shows we are now in a 1-in-20-year rainfall deficit," Ms Ryan said.

“The government's focus has been on the west of the state, but it now needs to consider extending drought support to parts of central and northern Victoria.”

Ms Ryan said stock containment grants, available to farmers through the North Central and Goulburn Broken CMAs, were useful but didn't go far enough.

"The drought relief available in western Victoria, including the farm household allowance, drought employment program and mental health first aid training, would go a long way to helping people through what is becoming an increasingly difficult season.

"I have been contacted by farmers from all corners of the Euroa electorate, including in Mitchell, Campaspe and Shepparton regions, who are struggling with tough seasonal conditions.

"It is all but guaranteed that irrigators on the Broken system will face zero allocations when the season opens on July 1," Ms Ryan said.

"For horticulturalists particularly, the prospect of another season without water is dire.

"I have written to Goulburn Murray Water urging it to improve reliability of supply for irrigators by changing carryover rules and making advanced allocations available to Broken irrigators.

Ms Ryan said below average inflows was also likely to result in an opening allocation of less than 10 per cent for Goulburn irrigators.

"More people are carting water for stock and are looking for funding to build pipelines to give them a water supply. Broadacre farmers are also having to contain stock to protect soils, adding additional financial pressure. One farmer I have spoken to is feeding 27 tonnes of barley a week,” Ms Ryan said.

"I strongly urge the government to consider the wellbeing of communities across central and northern Victoria by extending its drought declaration."

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