Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes is working with East Gippsland and Wellington shire councils on a joint Gippsland Drought Response Proposal. The joint advocacy document, which was adopted on May 7, details a plan between the two councils to the Victorian and Commonwealth governments for drought assistance and recovery. Representatives from East Gippsland and Wellington shires, East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority and East Gippsland Drought Reference Group met with government officials to present the proposal. East Gippsland mayor Natalie O’Connell said the document proposed a three-tier approach to engaging with the Victorian and Commonwealth governments, focussing on transition, recovery and adaption. Cr O’Connell said the meeting was positive and thanked Ms Symes’ office for the time and willingness to work on supporting communities. “The Minister and I have had regular contact over recent months and will continue to do so to ensure our communities have access to a full range of support to assist during the drought and in recovery,” Cr O’Connell said. “We are also actively promoting the range of support measures available from all three tiers of government through our website, and at events such as the recent East Gippsland Field Days.” Wellington deputy mayor Malcolm Hole said the meeting with the Minister’s office was fruitful. “Wellington Shire looks forward to continuing to work with the state government on drought response and recovery, acknowledging that the effects of the drought spread much further than just those farming the land,” Cr Hole said. “Both councils will meet again soon with their advisory committees to assess the looming impact of winter and post drought recovery, and make recommendations to the Minister for appropriate assistance.” Ms Symes said she was pleased to be working with shires to help farmers manage and prepare for dry conditions. “While we can’t make it rain, we can offer support and get out and listen to farmers, and that’s exactly what we are doing,” Ms Symes said. “As well as delivering our $45 million drought support package, we are continuing to work closely with stakeholders to see where any potential further support may be required, and how we can work together to keep building resilience in our rural farming communities.”
The Gippsland Farmer is a monthly agricultural newspaper reporting on rural news and distributed FREE and direct to an area covering from Cann River through to South Gippsland. For more than 40 years Gippsland Farmer has reported on a range of issues and industries including dairy, beef, vegetables, sheep, goats, poultry, organic farming, and viticulture.