| May 11, 2016
Nationals leadership to hear dairy farmers’ stories in Shepparton
Wednesday 11 May
Last week I met with dairy farmers from around Lockington to discuss how the recent cuts to milk prices will impact them.
From that meeting it was clear that our political leaders need to hear farmers’ stories first-hand.
That’s why I’ve invited the Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Federal Nationals, Barnaby Joyce, and Deputy Leader Fiona Nash to the area next week to hear directly from industry leaders.
Murray Goulburn and Fonterra’s decision to reduce farmgate milk prices next season is a tragedy for our dairy farmers.
Dairy farmers have already been enduring drought conditions and the sector needs all the support it can get at this time.
The Nationals, in a coalition government, have delivered several assistance programmes to support to dairy farmers:
- Farm Household Allowance (FHA) – a fortnightly income support payment for farmers and their partners experiencing financial hardship; farmers can apply via the Department of Human Services;
- Drought Concessional Loans – farmers can apply via Rural Finance in Victoria; and
- Rural Financial Counselling Service.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has also made it easier for dairy farmers to access the Farm Household Allowance. The changes exclude any shareholdings that dairy farmers are required to hold as suppliers of their dairy processor from the FHA non-farm assets test. This change should particularly assist Murray Goulburn suppliers.
A Victorian Dairy Taskforce has also been established to provide industry recommendations to the Victorian Government on measures to support dairy farmers.