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Assistance must include grape growers

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Local MP Bill Sykes is working to ensure that the Government frost assistance measures are available to Ovens & King Grape growers.

Bill visited grape growers at the field day at Alan McGuffies property on Wednesday 27th September and saw first hand the frost damage and heard of the economic impact – which will run into millions of dollars for local grape growers.

Bill said “I’ve already spoken to Peter McGauran Federal Minister for Agriculture and written to Premier Steve Bracks, in both cases I have highlighted the impact of the frost damage as well associated problems of low wine prices, a drought and the end of the Tobacco Industry.

I am disappointed that last weeks announcements did not include anything for North East Grape growers and so I will talk further with Peter McGauran this week and raise the issue with Mr Bracks in Parliament as well.

Bill continued “The things which I’ll be pushing include immediate assistance such as a $20,000 cash grant, financial counselling and interest rate subsidies. Centre link payments of up to $760 per fortnight and medical health cards should also be available for people experiencing financial hardship.

I will also push for fast tracking government supported work programs in the Alpine Shire and connection to natural gas (as promised by the Bracks Government 4 years ago) which would also help to encourage new industries and create long term jobs.

National’s leader Peter Ryan will be talking to the State Managers of the major banks this week to highlight the importance of a reasonable approach by the banks in these difficult times.

Bill concluded “I will liaise with Alpine Shire and Alpine Vignerons to ensure that we will all work together in the best interest of local Grape Growers and our local communities.


Written by Greg Naylor

2 October 2006 at 3:39 pm

Posted in media release

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