Jeremy Rockliff needs to apply the same rules that saw King Island receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in drought relief to farmers in other areas also dealing with the Big Dry, according to Independent MHAs Lara Alexander and John Tucker.

On Tuesday Premier Rockliff announced immediate emergency drought relief would be made available to King Island primary producers who could demonstrate hardship as a result of the drought conditions that have gripped the island this summer.

Mrs Alexander said it was commendable that the Premier had moved to help King Island farmers, but he needed to show the same generosity of spirit to farmers in areas like Flinders Island and Waterhouse who were also suffering.

Mr Tucker said lack of rainfall was affecting wide areas of the state, including the Derwent Valley, the Midlands and the Fingal Valley.  Relief should be made available to all farmers facing difficulties.

“I’m not sure I understand how the Premier cannot look at all areas through the same lens,” Mrs Alexander said.

“Instead, to take the two islands as an example, we are seeing different rules applied.  While King Island is getting cash relief made available, Flinders Island has been promised a workshop in resources management by the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) bureaucrats.”

Mrs Alexander said she had been told that farmers on Flinders were already paying $130-135/bale to freight hay for stockfeed – on top of the cost of the hay itself – and that dams are dropping closer to critically low levels.

“They – and farmers in other areas like Waterhouse – need more help than a workshop on how to manage resources that won’t exist if the dry weather continues.”

Mr Tucker said a lot of farmers were suffering from the Big Dry.

“No one decries the assistance made available on King Island.  All farmers want is a fair deal.

“They are also looking for leadership.  They are asking me: Why isn’t TasFarmers out in front of this, pushing for a fair go for everyone?

“Politics should play no part in this.”

Wednesday March 6th, 2024

Tags: News