May 25, 2016: Constituency Question to Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford

Dairy_Farm_shotMy question is for the Minister for Agriculture and Minister for Regional Development in the other place. As the minister is aware, my electorate covers one of the largest dairy production areas in the country. As the minister also knows, farmers are struggling with price cuts from two major processors. Last week I hosted a meeting bringing together experts from a range of areas who work closely with the dairy industry. One idea that came from that meeting was to fund regional coordinators who would work with suppliers and farmers, developing a plan of attack to help farmers through the next six months financially.

Previous experience says farmers are often reluctant to ask for help. Under this plan suppliers would identify people who are having trouble paying their bills, and a regional coordinator would then make contact, bring together the various services and sort out a plan of attack before it gets too late. The Great South Coast Group already has a model on the shelf ready to go. The food and fibre plan aims to address farm business management in an effort to grow the region. This would apply to this situation. All that is needed is funding. I ask the minister whether this idea fits within the support package announced this morning.