The region’s dairy farmers have not benefited from Labor’s promised assistance to the industry, State Member for Ovens Valley Tim McCurdy said.
Mr McCurdy said Daniel Andrews under-funded and over-promised on grants offered to farmers hit by the dairy crisis.
‘‘Just 332 of Victoria’s 4200 dairy farmers received funding from the Dairy Development Grants Scheme before the grants ran out,” Mr McCurdy said.
‘‘Daniel Andrews has severely misunderstood the needs of dairy farmers in this region who have been hit hard by this crisis if he thinks supporting just eight per cent of farmers to recover is enough.’’
Mr McCurdy said the government released the grants at a time when dairy farmers were busy with calving, hay and harvest.
‘‘Ovens Valley dairy farmers were under enormous stress adjusting to the milk price downturn and making big decisions about their future,’’ he said.
‘‘They had no time to complete onerous paperwork quickly and then they discovered the funds were fully exhausted in November — just a month after the announcement.’’
Mr McCurdy said farmers were angered by the first come, first served availability of the grants and they were not limited to dairy farmers who were most effected by the slashed milk price.
‘‘These grants have amounted to nothing more than proof the city-centric Labor Government clearly has no understanding of one of the biggest industries underpinning the rural economy in Northern Victoria.
‘‘Daniel Andrews is short-changing dairy farmers at a time when Labor’s policies have sent business power bills through the roof.’’