Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh yesterday announced the collaboration between the Victorian Coalition Government and the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) aimed at providing an emergency fodder drive for livestock owners that were affected by the fires.
According to the media release by the Premier of Victoria, the Victorian Coalition Government will fund the action, while the VFF will be in charge of co-ordinating the efforts to help stock owners in fire-affected areas.
“The total loss and damage caused by the fires is not yet clear but we do know that a number of landholders have lost a large amount of pasture and it is essential they receive emergency supplies,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Victorian Coalition Government has a long standing agreement with the VFF to fund the cost of fodder coordination and distribution in the event of fires or other emergencies. We activated that agreement today and the VFF is now appealing for donations of fodder for farmers affected by fires north of Melbourne, near Shepparton and in parts of Gippsland. These areas are principally: Mickelham, Kilmore, Lancefield, Gisborne and Romsey areas; Wunghnu and Bunbartha north of Shepparton; and the Yarram, Buchan, Orbost, Bonang, Lindenow, Gifford and Morwell areas of Gippsland.”
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) has its animal health teams visiting fire stricken properties in order to assess the situation and provide assistance in terms of animal welfare needs.
Further, DEPI is coordinating fire recovery efforts for affected rural landholders from the State Agricultural Recovery Centre at the Attwood Incident Control Centre, while agricultural recovery teams are working out of Attwood, Tatura, Traralgon, Bairnsdale and Orbost.
“Our field crews are providing animal welfare support to stock owners, collecting details of loss and damage and liaising with other government agencies to ensure affected landowners received rapid support,” Mr Walsh said.
“Animal health staff have priority access to fire affected properties to help landholders with animal welfare needs, as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Peter Tuohey, President of VFF, said anyone who had spare fodder for donation was urged to contact the VFF on 1300 882 833.
All landholders who are in need of animal welfare are advised to contact the DEPI Customer Service Centre on 136 186.