Funding direction criticised

By Country News

Shadow Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh has criticised Agricultural Minister Jaclyn Symes for not looking after drought-stricken farmers by targeting the funding to overall communities instead.

Mr Walsh accused the minister of being unable to say how much of Labor’s drought assistance was actually going to farmers.

‘‘As farmers considered selling up under the pressure of drought, parts of Labor’s drought package were made available to highly-paid professionals like doctors, lawyers and public servants,’’ he said.

In response, Ms Symes, who was speaking at the Committee for Greater Shepparton dinner, said drought had a flow-on effect that impacted on whole communities, as well as farmers.

‘‘I think that when you look at communities that are experiencing challenges, dry conditions or drought, the whole community is impacted,’’ she said.

‘‘So it’s important to make sure that you’re making the right investments for the whole community and we have a targeted drought package that is specifically for farmers, so I think dealing with both issues is important.’’