Tasmanian Times

Politics

1 month on: still no response from PM for emergency dairy farmer assistance

An urgent call for emergency funding for Tasmania’s dairy farmers over a month ago has so far not been responded to by the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Senator for Tasmania and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry Richard Colbeck wrote to the Prime Minister on the 30th of September seeking emergency assistance for desperate dairy farmers affected by power outages.

No response has been received from the Prime Minister or any of his representatives. Mr Rudd has not even acknowledged the letter.

“This is a disgrace,” Senator Colbeck said.

“Tasmania’s dairy farmers and their families have been battling like never before with a triple whammy of floods, lengthy power outages caused by storms and crippling milk prices.

“Yet they don’t even receive the courtesy of a response from the Prime Minister.

“Which part of ‘emergency’ does Mr Rudd not understand?”

Senator Colbeck said the power outages caused by fierce storms in late September cost some dairy farmers as much as $20,000.

“Many dairy farmers were without power for up to a week and were forced to hire generators to milk their herds, to operate milk storage vats and to power water pumps.

“The Federal Government’s Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDDRA) could have been used as a guide to provide affected dairy farmers with financial help to offset the costs of these power outages.

“Clearly, this is not something Mr Rudd cares about.

Senator Colbeck said Tasmania’s Labor MPs and Senators were just as much at fault over this disgraceful affair.

“Labor MPs such as Sid Sidebottom in Braddon have obviously done nothing to cause the PM to act on this emergency funding.

“All that Mr Sidebottom has done is bring a Canberra bureaucrat to Tasmania, but with no result.”
SENATOR THE HON RICHARD COLBECK

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