Drought funding finally gets approved for Moira

By Rodney Woods

Moira Shire Council has finally had its $1 million drought funding approved and, after a change of criteria, Greater Shepparton City Council is now also eligible.

“We were informed that the first decision cabinet made allowed Moira to get funding, but it was held up in the ministerial review,” Federal Member for Nicholls Damian Drum said.

“We weren’t aware of that when I made those comments (saying that Moira Shire Council had been successful).

“It was a disappointing wait, we wish we didn’t have to wait for it, but now Moira are added to the list and there's relief that the money has now gone through.

“The redefined criteria now sees Greater Shepparton eligible as well. We weren't expecting that.”

Now the money has been confirmed, Moira Shire councillors will soon meet to discuss where its overdue $1 million drought funding will be spent.

The municipality was controversially denied because it fell 0.1 per cent short in its required agricultural industry employment statistic.

This decision was overturned by a Federal Cabinet decision.

Moira Shire chief executive Mark Henderson would not comment on specific projects, but hinted the money would be allocated further to the west of the shire.

He said the money would be spent in the more drought-stricken smaller towns and communities rather than places such as Yarrawonga.

Katunga dairy farmer Bridget Goulding was disappointed it took so long for Moira Shire to be approved.

“It should have been given out in the first place,” Ms Goulding said.

“(I urge council) to spend wisely and make the decision and move forward and don’t spend unnecessary money on consultation.”