Representatives of a shire in regional Victoria were puzzled to receive $1 million in drought relief. One problem: they’re not in drought.
Over the weekend, the Moyne Shire in regional Victoria received $1 million from Scott Morrison as part of his $100 million national drought relief package. The only problem, the locals don’t need it. Local farmer and councillor Colin Ryan said the following to ABC News: “We’re not drought-affected. We don’t need the money for drought reasons and I believe it should be redirected to more deserving areas of Australia.”
Cr Ryan went on to say that: “It’s certainly news to me that we’re in a drought when we’ve had one of the best seasons in years…how are we in drought when we’re sending hay up to our northern farmers who are living in dustbowls and can barely afford to feed their cattle or themselves?”
The office for Minister for Drought David Littleproud confirmed that the area was selected for the program based on existing research.
“The government took into account Bureau of Meteorology data, as well as other economic and industry data such as the workforce employed in agriculture, forestry or fisheries, to determine which Local Government areas should receive assistance…we looked at where drought issues had started intensifying in Local Government Areas that had not yet received $1 million under the program. Ahead of the forecast summer conditions, it is important to generate an economic stimulus in these communities to ensure we can mitigate against hardship, support projects that provide local employment and keep money flowing through local shops and suppliers,” a spokesperson said.
Further to that point, a spokeswoman for the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormick said that the council was correctly selected.
I’m on a farm in the Moyne Shire in south west Vic. This is how green we are. 🙏 So very thankful of this – send the $1 mill federal drought funding to our farmers in Gippsland, northern Vic, NSW or
QLD #auspol #drought pic.twitter.com/T8cUqnWvU0
— KirstenDiprose (@KirstenDiprose) September 29, 2019
According to the statistics provided to Mr Littleproud’s office, Moyne Shire’s rainfall deficiency for March 2019 was 78.4 per cent and the June deficiency was 62 per cent.
Cr Ryan said he believed the statistics do not reflect the reality in Moyne Shire. He put it plainly: “For the Federal Minister of Agriculture to say we’re in drought is unbelievable and untrue…can we morally keep this money when we’re not suffering?”