The State Government has announced a cash injection to farmers who have been hit hardest by drought and dry conditions.
Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes was in Giffard, east Gippsland, to announce the additional $13 million funding, to help ease the financial burden of the unprecedented conditions.
“This package will deliver support as quickly as possible to those who need help now - $3500 that farmers can use however they choose, because they know their business better than anyone else," Ms 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.”
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.
Read more: Government announces drought assistance
The Labor Government will provide $5.6 million for Drought Hardship Support Payments of up to $3,500 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 $2,500.
Northern and north West Victoria are also experiencing ongoing dry seasonal conditions following significantly below average rainfall throughout 2018, with dairy farmers particularly impacted by high temporary water and feed prices.
The government will provide payments of up to $2,500 available to young dairy farmers or dairy farmers who receive the Farm Household Allowance now available in northern Victoria.
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 2,500 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.