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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.ruralfinance.com.au/industry-programs/dairy-concessional-loans-scheme-2015-16. 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‚Äôs 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.
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/