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Tuesday, 29 May 2018
Page: 4706

Mr BROAD (Mallee) (13:43): I wish to update the House on the seasonal conditions across the Wimmera-Mallee, and it's appropriate the shadow minister for agriculture is in the chamber to also hear this.

Ms McGowan: And north-east Victoria!

Mr BROAD: And north-east Victoria, but I'll talk about the Mallee.

We are very blessed, as a country, to have such hard-working farmers. At the moment many of them are sewing their crops basically dry. I believe there wouldn't be many people in this chamber who would spend $200,000 or $300,000 to chuck into the soil with only the hope of it raining. No-till farming systems have assisted with press wheels, and they are able to get crops up on limited moisture, but we have very little subsoil moisture. The rain event last night put anywhere between six and 15 millimetres across the Wimmera Mallee. That's very welcome. That will bring up the canola particularly, which already has a yield disadvantage because of its lateness in the season. But lately, over the last number of years, the autumn break has been later and later, usually 20 May. But can I say that our farmers sow in hope.

I want to say to our farmers: if things do get tough, the government will stand behind you. We have farm household assistance. We have low-interest loans that are available. We have rural financial counsellors. Do not self-assess. I very much hope the season turns out to be a very good one. There's a long way ahead, but I want you to know that, if things do get tough, we're there to provide whatever level of support is necessary, which hopefully will not be needed.