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Full time farmers denied climate change support.



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Federal Member for Wannon

Hamilton Office 190 Gray St, HAMILTON VIC 3300 Warrnambool Office 73 Kepler St WARRNAMBOOL VIC 3280 Freecall 1300 131 692 E David.Hawker.MP@aph.gov.au W www.davidhawker.com.au

Federal Member for Wannon

17 July 2008

FULL TIME FARMERS DENIED CLIMATE CHANGE SUPPORT

The majority of Western Victoria’s full time farmers will be disqualitifed from Government assistance to adapt and adjust to the impacts of climate change, Federal Member for Wannon, David Hawker, said today.

“A means test attached to Labor’s Australia’s Farming Future Climate Change Adjustment program means that thousands of farmers who need assistance in adapting to climate change are automatically denied any help,” Mr Hawker said.

“The new program promised farmers grants up to $5500 to fund, among other things, training to update or acquire new skills to manage the risks of climate change.

“In what is becoming a pattern with the Labor Government, this program was launched with much fanfare and self promotion, but when you read the fine print, you learn that there are strings attached that render the promise next to worthless.

“Labor needs to get out of the cities and learn that farming is a capital intensive industry. Land, machinery and implements all add to your asset list but do not result in disposable income.

“Today’s strong property values coupled with a prolonged drought have left many farmers in an asset rich cash poor position.”

Mr Hawker said farmers should not have to put their future at risk with farm mortgages up to their eye balls before they are provided help with climate change.

“If our full-time farmers are not given the help they need when they need it to ensure their long term viability then farm productivity and Australia’s food security will be placed at risk,” he said.

“Labor should immediately remove the means test on family farms with a value of $1.5 million and above - that’s most full-time farms - so that help can be provided to all farmers to combat climate change.”

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Media contact: Jane Templeton (03) 5572 1100