Labor fails to deliver for storm-affected Mildura farmers
The Nationals Member for Northern Victoria, Luke O’Sullivan, has called on Agriculture Minister, Jaala Pulford, to make a real commitment to seeking assistance for farmers whose crops were damaged during a severe storm that hit Mildura on 11 November.
During adjournment debate in Parliament, Mr O’Sullivan detailed the extent of the damage, stating that "There is about $100 million worth of damage, which consists of about 2 million boxes of table grapes- that is about $35 a box; 1100 hectares of wine grapes, or about 20 000 tonnes, which were damaged; about 1000 tonnes of dried fruit; almonds; and certainly nursery stock as well."
Mr O’Sullivan also expressed his deep disappointment in Minister Pulford for her lack of prioritisation of the serious matter.
"The minister took her time to come up to Mildura to have a look. I think it was about 10 days before she got up there. She found time to go to a Labor caucus meeting and also a shade cloth photo op in Creswick before she found time to go up and visit these farmers.
"When will the minister make some reasonable announcements for those impacted farmers in the Mildura area?"
The damage has been extensive for many local farmers, with one Red Cliffs wine grape grower estimating that 75% of this season’s harvest on his property had been wiped out by the severe storm.
Mr O’Sullivan’s Nationals Party colleague Member for Mildura, Peter Crisp, has also been lobbying The Andrews Labor Government to approach the Federal Government for disaster relief funding.
Mr Crisp asked during constituency questions in Parliament "Will the Premier support category C classification under the natural disaster relief and recovery arrangements for the 11 November storm that severely affected communities in my electorate?
"The storm damaged approximately 450 properties in the Cardross, Red Cliffs and Stewart corridor. The Victorian government needs to support a Category C response as soon as possible to support the recovery of these families and their businesses."