Drought mental health funding misses the mark

The Andrews Labor Government is not listening to Gippsland farmers when it comes to drought support.

The Nationals, Member for Eastern Victorian Region Melina Bath said Gippsland farmers are seriously struggling, however once again we see Labor creating PR opportunities for their under resourced and inadequate drought support programs.

“The State Government continue to issue drought support according to arbitrary municipal boundaries and farmers in Latrobe City are being ignored by city centric Premier Daniel Andrews.

“Sadly the $395,000 provided for this mental health program is less than the amount squandered by Labor on its grant for a failed business enterprise in Latrobe Valley.  Labor cannot be trusted to manage money and evaluate need.

“Minister Foley acknowledges the drought is continuing to affect farmers in Gippsland, however his Government will not commit to the ongoing and targeted drought support repeatedly called for by farmers and local Councils.

“If the Andrews Labor Government were serious about supporting Gippsland farmer’s mental health, it would act to address the crippling financial pressures they are facing.

Ms Bath said she has been calling on The Andrews Labor Government in State Parliament to extend drought support to Latrobe City farmers as record low rainfall and drought conditions grip the region.

“The Australian Bureau of Meteorology is reporting that over the last 15 months Gippsland rainfall totals are either the lowest on record or severely deficient,” Ms Bath said.

“How much worse does the drought situation have to get before Labor will act?

“It is time Daniel Andrews took notice of Gippsland and started listening to our community.

“Gippsland farmers are continuing to call for rate relief, yet all they receive is band-aid funding which frustratingly fails to address the root cause of their stress and declining mental health.”