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Sykes again asks for increased drought assistance

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The Nationals Member for Benalla, Bill Sykes, in Parliament this week again called on the Bracks Government to provide ‘serious help’ now to drought affected farmers and communities in North East Victoria.

Dr Sykes said, “Country Victoria has been hit hard by drought and fires and the response from the Bracks Government has been grossly inadequate.”

“The money offered so far for drought and fire relief is a pittance – it wouldn’t buy the stock feed for one hundred farmers. Further, a lot of the State Government promises are yet to be delivered on. As of last week, Treasury hadn’t signed off on the $1.9 million post fire tourism promotion packages for North East Victoria.”

Dr Sykes continued, “I see the pain in the eyes and etched in the faces of farmers and the whole community now in North East Victoria. I see it at Tolmie and Whitfield and other communities affected by the fires; I see it at drought meetings; I hear it in the voices of people who ring me begging for help and see it in the letters of those writing, begging for help.”

He called for the Government to provide:

• $20,000 cash grants for farmers;
• rate relief for all residents;
• subsidies for the purchase and cartage of water; and
• commitment to securing long term water supplies for Bright, Mansfield, Benalla, Euroa and Violet Town.

Dr Sykes concluded, “I remind the Bracks Government that it’s tough, damn tough beyond the tram tracks and it’s going to get a lot tougher. We need serious help now.”


Written by Greg Naylor

15 March 2007 at 5:49 pm

Posted in media release

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