Bath calls for Minister to extend drought assistance to Latrobe City

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath has called on the Andrews Labor Government in State Parliament this week to extend drought assistance to farmers in Latrobe City.

Ms Bath said there are many farming families living around Flynn and Glengarry who are drought-affected, and cannot access any of the available small cash grants because their farm is located in the wrong local government area.

“The Andrews Labor Government must acknowledge drought does not discriminate nor does it choose it victims according your property fence or an arbitrary boundary imposed by the state government, said Ms Bath.

“Over many months now Latrobe farmers have been visiting my office desperately seeking drought assistance.

“The frustration and pressures of being ineligible for the same drought assistance provided in Wellington and East Gippsland is cruel and not good enough.

“Latrobe farmers are experiencing the same financial and farming stresses and are also struggling to keep their animals alive.”

Ms Bath said only this week a desperate Latrobe City farmer visited her electoral office and spoke of his anguish in being forced to sell off the majority of his herd last October due to the drought.

“Yesterday my electoral staff rang the Rural Financial Counsellor service with this farmer, only to be advised the most practicable option is to sell off the remaining herd,” Ms Bath said.

“This situation is dire and our farmers are going from agency to agency in desperation, it is time Labor acknowledged Latrobe farmers are also gripped by drought.

“This farmer’s investment in his last remaining stock are the only platform for him to recover his farming capacity.

“Latrobe Valley farmers feel they have been abandoned by the Andrews Labor Government.

“The small amount of rain received to date is far from enough.  I am calling on the Andrews Labor Government to show compassion and extend drought support to Latrobe City.”