MPs visit drought-affected farms
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MPs visit drought-affected farms

On-farm discussions with drought-impacted farmers were the focus when Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford and Gippsland East Nationals MP Tim Bull took to the road today.
“Having raised the concerning seasonal conditions in Parliament over the past fortnight and inviting the Minister to come to the region, it was pleasing this came to fruition today and it was great that our Federal Member, Darren Chester, was also able to join us,” Mr Bull said.
“We visited the properties of Anthony Snow and Dennis and Rick Blackshaw, where we were joined by other farmers from as far as Orbost and Wellington Shire.
“The message was clear that although things aren’t great at present, we desperately need rain in the next 4-6 weeks to avert a far more serious situation. The greatest cause of concern is the lack of fodder going forward, with much of south-eastern Australia’s reserves having gone to New South Wales.”
Mr Bull said discussions were constructive and it was pleasing to hear the Minister get a first-hand experience of some of the on-ground problems.
“For instance, on the Blackshaw farm in particular we saw the mobs of kangaroos grazing in paddocks that have been locked up, while the owner has been waiting almost 10 weeks for his permit to control wildlife to come through,” he said.
“Every passing day he is losing this critical pasture.
“The need to address this with more resources, increase rural financial counselling staff and start to assess other feed sources and options were all key points both myself and the farmers were able to raise with the Minister.
“I just wanted our plight put on the radar as all you often hear about in the media is NSW and Queensland and we need some focus down here,” Mr Bull said.
Minister Pulford told landholders she would maintain a close eye on the seasonal conditions in East Gippsland.
“I thank the farming families for opening up their properties, being so accommodating and explaining their situation,” she said.
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, and Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford, chat with drought-affected farmers in Bengworden today. Minister Pulford was in East Gippsland after receiving a formal invitation from Mr Bull.
Tuesday, August 28, 2018