·    The government cannot waste any more time in getting practical support onto the ground to assist dairy farmers

·    That includes subsidies or low interest loans for grain, assistance with animal health, reconfiguring the Drought Taskforce and extending counselling support

·    Labor’s understated, bureaucratic approach to this crisis provides further evidence of how out of touch the government is

The Tasmanian Liberals have today taken to State Parliament the urgent need for practical, on the ground assistance to Tasmania’s dairy farmers, who are in crisis.

The understated and bureaucratic response of the government is simply not acceptable. For the Primary Industries Minister to brand this an “awkward” situation for dairy farmers just shows how out of touch his government is with the community after 11 long years in office.

Many of these farmers are struggling to feed their stock and to even put proper food on the family table, as a result of a miserly milk price, atrocious weather and reduced production – exacerbated by higher power prices and power outages.

In Question Time, and through a Matter of Public Importance debate, the Liberals have stepped up pressure on the government to immediately modify the Drought Taskforce into a Rural Taskforce and deploy it to the dairy crisis.

We’ve repeated our calls for subsidies or low interest loans for grain to feed stock, and also for animal welfare assistance.

There needs to be the provision of more counselling support to farmers and their communities, who are in extreme distress. And the government needs to understand the impact that its massive power price rises have had on dairy farmers, along with recent power outages.

It was pleasing last week to see the government respond, finally, to our calls for it to support a fighting fund to assist farmers campaign against the prices they are getting for their milk. But the government’s job is far from finished. There is no more time to waste in getting practical assistance out on the ground to these farmers. The government has already waited too long.