Towong Shire

Support for the Dairy Industry

Support for the Dairy Industry

The dairy industry is currently experiencing challenging economic and seasonal conditions.

Towong Shire Council continues to partner with the Alpine Valley's Dairy Pathways Project, to determine and deliver a local response which will include social support, financial counselling and transition support tailored to the Alpine Valleys.

Council is also partnering with Murray Dairy, Rural Financial Counselling Service Victoria - North East, partner Councils and the Victorian Government on a region-wide taskforce to support farmers and communities through this challenging time for the industry.

There are a large range of services being rolled out to support dairy farmers. This includes training, grants, one-on-one support and business mentoring. For up-to-date information on these services, please visit Agiculture Victoria's website.

Locally, Murray Dairy are coordinating the on-the-ground response and will be delivering a range of support programs including the practical "Tactics for Tight Times", sessions to help you set up for your season, and social events to connect you with your community. For more information on Murray Dairy's programs and events please visit the Murray Dairy website.

Small Business Victoria are delivering programs to support small businesses impacted by the current dairy situation. For more information on thes support available through Small Business Victoria, please visit the dairy community support page, on the Business Victoria website.

The Government's Dairy Support Package includes access to Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans. These loans are now available in Victoria and will be delivered by Rural Finance for the Australian Government. Applicants can find more information on the loans at the Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans Scheme 2015/16 page on the Rural Finance website at: http://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought/assistance/dairy-support-package. Scheme guidelines and the application form are available there, along with information about the scheme. For local farmers interested in the concessional loans, Rural Finance’s phone number for enquiries about the scheme is 1800 260 425.

The Farm Household Allowance is a program available through Centrelink to assist agricultural businesses in times of difficulty. Recent changes to legislation mean farmers with high value water assets may now be eligible for Farm Household Allowance. More information on the program is available here: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/farm-household-allowance . For more information about this program, phone the Farmer Assistance Hotline on 132 316. Please note that wait times to the Farmer Assistance Hotline are significantly lower than to other areas of Centrelink.

Rural Financial Counselling is available as a free and confidential service to all agricultural business and service businesses. The Rural Financial Counselling Service, Victoria, North East, can be contacted on http://www.rfcsvicne.org.au/  or by calling 1300 834 775.

If you need assistance to access any of these programs, or you would like to discuss other forms of assistance, please call 02 6071 5100 and ask to speak with Lauren Elvin, Manager Economic Development. All enquiries will be treated confidentially.

Rural Skills Connect

The Rural Skills Connect Program engages with people impacted by the downturn in the dairy industry who need to seek new employment or explore new opportunities through training.

Rural Skills Connect is a program funded by the Victorian Government and is aimed at providing employment and training guidance for dairy farmers, their family members or employees, and affected dairy farm service providers.

Dairy industry personnel have a broad range of skills and knowledge that position them well as job-ready candidates within the region. The program’s aim is to identify transferable skills and as required, further develop them to meet local workforce needs.

This is achieved through engagement with employers, industry and registered training organisations to identify current opportunities and connect them with participants who are registered in the program.

Rural Skills Connect provides opportunities to:

  • assist affected workers by brokering new employment
  • assist farmers to supplement farm business income with off-farm work
  • undertake a skills and experience audit and work with the training sector to facilitate appropriate training opportunities which can lead to employment
  • increase the accredited skills base across the industry
  • assist farm businesses to become more resilient against economic or environmental stresses in the future¬†

For further information or a confidential discussion, please contact Joanne Turner, Program Manager - Rural Skills Connect for the Murray Dairy Region via telephone 03 5722 7115 or 0472 863 050 or via joanne.turner@ecodev.vic.gov.au

Please check Council's "What's On" page for local, dairy specific events, as well as a range of other social, educational and tourism events happening in and around the Towong Shire - http://www.towong.vic.gov.au/visitors/whats-on/

 

Closure of Murray Goulburn Processing Facility, Kiewa

The closure of the Murray Goulburn milk processing facility in Kiewa has impacted on communities and families in the Towong Shire, Indigo Shire and Wodonga Rural City areas.

Murray Goulburn is providing support to affected workers and Councils are working with the community to manage a community response, to support the workers, their families, friends, small business owners and other people impacted by the closure.

Indigo Shire Council is hosting an informational webpage to keep the community up to date on what is happening. Please visit http://www.indigoshire.vic.gov.au/Your_Council/Dairy_Community_Support for further information.

Last updated: 11 July 2017