Farmers to receive payments

DROUGHT-affected farmers in central and east Gippsland will be eligible for grants of $3500 or $2500 from the state government.

Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes was in Giffard on Friday to announce an additional $13 million to help ease the financial burden of the unprecedented conditions.

The relief package is in addition to the $29.69 million announced late last year for farmers and communities in central and east Gippsland and in northern and north-west Victoria.

The government will provide $5.6 million for Drought Hardship Support Payments of up to $3500 for young farmers and farmers receiving the Farm Household Allowance experiencing drought in central and east Gippsland. All other farmers in in central and east Gippsland will be eligible for payments of $2500.

An additional $1 million will be provided for a Drought Hardship Fund, which will provide additional payments to farmers who are struggling but don’t qualify for a Drought Hardship Support Payment

The government will also provide $5 million to extend the On-Farm Drought Infrastructure Grants program.

This program has already provided almost 2500 farmers across Gippsland and northern Victoria with grants of up to $5000 for on-farm infrastructure to improve drought preparedness and management.

To help save farmers time and stress, an additional $1 million will be provided across the state to improve water supply access for stock and domestic water users, making it easier for farmers who are currently water carting.

“This package will deliver support as quickly as possible to those who need help now – $3500 dollars that farmers can use however they choose, because they know their business better than anyone else,” Minister Symes said.

“This puts cash in farmers pockets that can be used to pay rates, invest on-farm or bring in feed – it’s about delivering the support they need most.”

“Keeping young farmers on the land is crucial for the future of the industry – that’s why we’re targeting this immediate relief to support young farmers to get through these really tough times.”