Moira Shire may now see drought funding after Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack weighed in on the issue on his visit to Yarrawonga last week.
Mr McCormack was in town to meet with both local councils and member for Nicholls Damian Drum to discuss the progress of the Yarrawonga Mulwala bridge.
When asked about Moira Shire’s near miss with drought funding, Mr McCormack said a review was underway and Moira was in fact eligible for the subsidy.
“We are looking at the moment as to what we can do, obviously we’ve had discussions at the highest level as to what we need to do to address the ongoing drought situation, you have to have criteria,” Mr McCormack said.
“Droughts don’t understand lines on maps, droughts don’t understand the percentage of a local government area reliant on agriculture or the rate base or the amount of rainfall or not.
“People in these drought-stricken communities need assistance, require assistance, deserve assistance and we’ll be there to give them that assistance.
“I understand how crippling this drought is.”
A Senate estimates hearing earlier this month found Moira fell just .1 per cent short of the agriculture employment threshold to be deemed eligible for funding.
Moira Shire Mayor Libro Mustica was pleased with the comments made by Mr McCormack and Mr Drum and said the funding would be directed to meaningful projects.
“We welcome the news from Member for Nicholls Damian Drum that Moira Shire will be eligible for $1 million in federal drought funding following intervention from the Water Minister David Littleproud,” Mr Mustica said.
“It is in these times that our local businesses, community and council unite to support each other, but we can’t shoulder the load on our own.
“We would like to thank our local federal member Damian Drum, who continues to work with us and advocate on our behalf.
“All funding programs have thresholds and we respect that and fortunately the Minister used his discretion in this instance.
“For every job on farm there are at least another four-off farm, for example in processing, transport and even finance and banking, so when our agriculture sector suffers there is a flow on effect to all areas of business.
“We will make sure, through consultation, this funding is directed to meaningful projects and initiatives.”