darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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March 22, 2010

The Nationals State and Federal MPs are combining forces to urge the Victorians State Government to support an extension of drought funding.

The Nationals State Member for Morwell Russell Northe and Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester are supporting community efforts to have the exceptional circumstances assessment for the region extended to include farmers around the Latrobe Valley.

The Federal Government last week announced that EC would continue for the Central and East Gippsland revised region but Latrobe Valley farmers were not included.

“This week in State Parliament I will be raising the concerns of local farmers directly with State Agricultural Minister Joe Helper,” Mr Northe said.

“Under current EC arrangements it is up to the State Government to make an application to the Federal Minister who will seek an assessment by the National Rural Advisory Council.

“Many farmers in the Latrobe Valley region have been adversely affected by both drought and bushfires and I will be asking the State Minister to take a closer look at local conditions in our region.”

Mr Chester said the current EC model of lines on a map deciding which farmers receive assistance and who misses out was a constant source of concern.

“It is an issue that I have raised with the Federal Minister and I know that he is attempting to find a fairer model for the future,” Mr Chester said.

“There are several farmers in and around the Latrobe Valley who have experienced conditions which are just as bad as drought declared areas but are not entitled to assistance.

“I will work with Russell Northe and the State Government to support an application for the extension of EC to include the Latrobe Valley.”

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