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Helping Hand for Victorian Dairy Farmers

16 March 2009

AUSTRALIA - Victorian dairy farmers will benefit from a $700,000 business support package thanks to the Brumby Government and Dairy Australia.

Agriculture Minister Joe Helper said a support package was developed at a meeting this week with dairy industry representatives which would enable dairy farmers to make better, more informed decisions for their future.

“The Brumby Government is taking action to ensure farmers have a practical plan of action to work through challenging conditions such as decreased milk prices, water availability, ongoing dry conditions, and the flow-on effects of the global financial crisis,” Mr Helper said.

“We have committed $350,000 to support the state’s dairy farmers which has been matched by Dairy Australia and comes on top of a $724,000 commitment from the Federal Government to assist dairy farmers in the Southern Murray Darling Basin.”

The Brumby Government funding announcement will assist dairy farmers with:

  • An action plan comprising market surveillance to clearly understand and anticipate market trends driving farmgate prices;
  • Briefing sessions to assess risk and develop support strategies;
  • Direct one-on-one consultation; and
  • Management tools for farmers to respond to a more volatile supply of farm inputs such as water, feed and fuel.

Mr Helper said the high-quality information provided from a collaborative industry approach will support farmers in making important decisions for their future.

“Consistent dialogue between the Brumby Government and industry groups will ensure that we build on the industry’s strong foundations to increase jobs and further develop market access,” he said.

While the Brumby Government will continue to support ways of improving farm profitability through farm research, Mr Helper said this week’s meeting also discussed opportunities to improve the farmgate price through market development.

"We will continue to work with dairy companies to explore ways to improve dairy returns through market development," He said.

United Dairyfarmers Victoria President Doug Chant welcomed the response from the Government.

“We are pleased that Government and Dairy Australia has responded so quickly – it is an urgent and important step towards supporting dairy families to cope with the issues affecting them,” Mr Chant said.

“Dairy farmers have been doing all they can to mitigate the risk to their business, so it is important we support them every step of the way.”

Australian Dairy Industry Council Chairman Allan Burgess said this week’s roundtable meeting was a constructive discussion between government and industry groups and provided a good framework for the way forward.

“I look forward to further industry collaboration to ensure the needs of Victoria's dairy farmers are being met,” Mr Burgess said.

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