ASSISTANCE FOR FARMERS
There is a misunderstanding either deliberate or un-intentional of the significant and urgent assistance provided for the beleaguered local dairy farmers following the cutback announcements by Murray Goulburn and Fonterra.
The Federal Government is in “caretaker mode” and the Deputy Prime Minister and National Party Leader, Barnaby Joyce can only take action in consultation with the federal Labor opposition and can only provide financial assistance with money already approved by legislation.
Hence, the immediate provision of $30M under the “Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans Scheme” which was Victoria’s share of the $55M remaining existing concessional loans budgeted for this financial year.
These loans are at 2.71 percent, far cheaper than commercial rates, and they will go down to 2.66 percent on August 1.
However, none of this can be provided until the Victorian Government agrees to administer the loan arrangements, which so far it has not and is demanding extra money for the administration.
From July 1 far more money for loans will be available for allocation as the Federal scheme rolls into the new financial year.
Minister Joyce has also provided other assistance with rural counsellors, and the creation of a commodity milk price index.
Perhaps the most significant immediate assistance and not widely known is the availability of the “Farm Household Allowance” which will provide affected farm families with almost $500 per week to put “food on the table,” particularly during the low income winter months. A mobile van is already touring the area and extra departmental staff have been allocated to accelerate the processing of applications.
Fortunately access to this Allowance is now readily available. This is the worst winter for local dairy farmers since 1976 with the then repercussions of the United Kingdom joining the European Union when our dairy and fruit access was basically terminated. I was involved as the local federal member and we had over three thousand local fruit and dairy farmers and small business owners on the pioneering version of this program.
This is an urgent situation for many dairy farmers and the Coalition Government through Barnaby has responded quickly and positively.
MALL SHOULD BE OPENED
In reply to the letter by Councillor, Jenny Houlihan in The Adviser on Wednesday, June 8, it may be great for you to see a public political debate in the Maude Street Mall, but did you take note of how many of these people went into any of the traders’ shops and spent money, or was it just gathering of current candidates making promises that in most cases will not be kept.
Dear councillor, your words on not giving it back to cars (the mall), do you not realise that this great city of Shepparton started with horse carts in the streets, then came the automobile, cars, trucks, buses and trains. The centre of Shepparton was a very vibrant and busy hub with lots of car parks and lots of people shopping in what is now the Maude Street Mall.
Somewhere along the line, someone came up with the great idea of closing Maude Street and Fraser Street between High and Fryers Streets and giving the public a mall, at the same time pushing shoppers to outer shopping areas. Now the traders in the mall suffer with not getting shoppers and not making enough money to survive.
I`m sorry councillor but your idea does not wash, as the Maude Street Mall traders will never prosper again until the shoppers can again drive up in front of the shops, get out, walk in and buy what they want and go back outside and drive to another area of Shepparton.
Councillor, think of the traders not the politicians having a meeting every three years.