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The Coalition Government has announced $20million in funding to fast track the upgrade of the Macalister Irrigation District in Victoria.

The funding was announced as part of a support package to help Australian dairy farmers who have had their incomes retrospectively cut by dairy processors Murray-Goulburn and Fonterra.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that farming communities had been hit hard and the money would provide much-needed support.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce announced the package and said the Coalition will deliver immediate assistance to dairy farmers in hardship to help them manage through these difficult times and return to profitability.

“I was pleased to meet dairy farmers in Victoria last week and the Coalition wants to send a clear message that the Coalition stands shoulder to shoulder with them,” Mr Joyce said.

The key elements of the support package are:

  • $20 million to fast track the upgrade of the Macalister Irrigation District
  • $555 million in Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans
  • $2 million to establish a commodity milk price index
  • $900,000 for an additional 9 Rural Financial Counsellors in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and New South Wales
  • $900,000 for Dairy Australia’s ‘Tactics for Tight Times’ program
  • Fast tracking Farm Household Allowance applications with 18 more Department of Human Services employees processing claims
  • Appointment of a Department of Human Services Dairy Industry Liaison Officer
  • Redirection of two Department of Human Services Mobile Service Centres to dairy regions

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