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Community called to support farmers as drought continues.

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The Hon. Tony Burke MP Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Community called to support farmers as drought continues

15 February 2008 DAFF08/011B

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke today attended the launch of the Woolworths Drought Action Day in Queanbeyan, saying families in the bush continued to suffer.

Woolworths has joined forces with the Country Women’s Association (CWA) to donate today’s profits from more than 765 Woolworths and Safeway supermarkets across Australia to rural communities.

The CWA will distribute the emergency aid grants to families in need and one-third of the funds will be provided to Landcare to help farmers improve the sustainable management of their farms.

“The Rudd Government is committed to supporting hard-working farmers - with financial support and practical assistance measures,” Mr Burke said.

“Yesterday Federal Parliament approved a $1 billion emergency funding package for both drought-stricken farmers and those affected by equine influenza.

“Now I’m happy to join Member for Eden-Monaro Dr Mike Kelly at this drought action day to help remind the wider community that rain in some areas doesn’t suddenly end the pain for farmers.”

Dr Kelly said the Woolworths Action Day showed what benefits could be achieved when the corporate sector and communities work together.

“Just this week, in my first speech in Federal Parliament, I noted that hard-working men and women on the land in Eden-Monaro need all the help they can get,” Dr Kelly said.

“I want to ensure our towns are living and vibrant economic, cultural and historical centres.

“It is fantastic to see Woolworths’ ongoing commitment to our farmers and I congratulate them and the Country Women’s Association for coordinating this great effort.”

Mr Burke also thanked Woolworths and the Country Women’s Association for joining forces to make the 2008 Drought Action Day a success.

“The 2007 Drought Action Day raised more than $4.7 million and provided emergency financial support to more than 2,500 farming families across Australia,” Mr Burke said.

“This year, Woolworths aims to raise at least $5 million through the appeal.

“Woolworth’s donation will complement the $16 million already provided by the Australian Government to the CWA emergency drought grants program since 2002.”

Further information on assistance available to drought-affected families is available from the Australian Government’s Drought Assistance Hotline on 13 23 16.

Media contact: Ann-Marie Wilcock - 0413 872 275