Premier Daniel Andrews will again visit drought-affected areas across the Grampians, Wimmera and Southern Mallee to hear firsthand from farmers and communities about the impact of the on-going lack of rainfall.
Mr Andrews will visit several communities on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the effects of the drought together with Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville and Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford.
This follows on last November’s visit to farms, businesses and other community groups across Donald, Birchip, Charlton and Wedderburn where the Andrews Labor Government announced a $27 million package of support.
The support package included funds for free kinder, rural financial counselling, new stock containment areas, fast-tracked infrastructure projects and the employment of farmers and farm workers on local environmental programs.
The centrepiece of the package was a dedicated $10 million Drought Support Fund, with affected communities shaping how the money is to be spent.
Last month the Labor Government announced further details of this fund following extensive consultation with affected communities.
Community priorities included an extension of the drought employment and stock containment programs, as well as new recreational water and sports grants to boost resilience, morale and bring drought affected communities together.
This week’s visit will begin in Ararat on Wednesday morning with a community briefing with local farmers before the upgraded Ararat Outdoor Pool is officially opened.
Mr Andrews will then visit a farm at Wonwondah, south of Horsham, before travelling to Longerenong College and then to Wycheproof in the evening for a barbecue with local farmers and other community members.
On Thursday, Mr Andrews will attend a breakfast at Lake Tchum near Wycheproof to discuss the Drought Employment Program with farmers employed in the program before travelling to Donald, St. Arnaud and Wedderburn.
Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews
“As someone who grew up on a farm, I know how much rural communities are at the mercy of the weather.”
“We will continue to support rural communities through these tough times and whether it’s support for free kinder, improved water infrastructure or off-farm income for farmers, we will do whatever it takes to support locals.”
“Our return visit to the Wimmera, Grampians and Southern Mallee is about continuing to listen to drought affected communities and ensuring our support is going where it’s most needed.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville
“The Andrews Labor Government is looking at how to best improve water security for communities in north-western Victoria to lessen their dependence on rainfall and help them adjust to climate change.”
“We are investing in immediate relief like new standpipes to reduce time spent carting water while also looking at how best to extend the water grid so water can be moved where it is most needed.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford
“The drought continues to place significant stress on families in the Wimmera and Mallee and we are working hard on a range of measures to assist both farm businesses and community well-being.”
“Visiting north-western Victoria this week is about listening to rural communities about the impacts of drought and how we can best support them.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020