South West Coast MP Roma Britnell has called on the state government to fund a program which will help dairy farmers ride out the current crisis.
In parliament this afternoon, Mrs Britnell called on Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford to consider funding regional coordinators as part of the dairy industry support package announced on Tuesday.
She said a regional coordinator would assist farm businesses work with services to develop a “plan of attack” to get them through the next six months financially.
Mrs Britnell welcomed the state government’s $11.4 million support package, which has includes a $5.2 million contribution from industry.
“This is an opportunity for the industry to work with farmers to ride out this current crisis and optimize opportunities,” Mrs Britnell said.
“I believe my proposal to fund regional coordinators fits perfectly with this package and I ask the minister to consider the proposal.”
Mrs Britnell said a coordinator would make a friendly approach offering assistance.
“Services would identify people they encounter who may be having trouble paying for necessary services. The coordinator would then make contact and offer practical assistance,” she said
“The coordinator would then arrange for the services to work as a team to develop a plan to get the farm businesses and families through this period financially.”
Mrs Britnell said the Great South Coast Group’s Food and Fiber Plan, which aims to further advance the region through farm businesses development and planning, could be adapted to deal with the crisis and provide governance and strategy for the regional coordinators.
“It could then progress to assist the region’s farmers, and in turn the region, in the long term,” she said.