Agricultural Minister Jaclyn Symes would rather hope for rain than give drought-affected Victorian farmers adequate assistance to survive the drought with dignity.
During question time in State Parliament yesterday, I asked the Minister if she would provide immediate funding for municipal rate relief and relief from fixed water charges for drought-affected farmers in Northern Victoria and Gippsland who are facing annual rates bills well in excess of $20,000 and crippling fixed water charges.
Rather than provide the rate relief needed by our farmers now, Ms Symes and Labor are formulating policy dictated by the weather.
The inadequate drought package announced by the Minister last week has been resoundingly criticized by farmers as being insufficient and is a pittance compared to the NSW Government’s more than $1 billion committed for drought relief.
Ms Symes needs to go back to the cabinet table and negotiate a better deal so that our farmers receive the long-term drought package including substantial municipal rate and fixed water charges relief they so desperately need.
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