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Bushfire-affected farmers billed for fence subsidies

The Liberal Nationals are calling on the Andrews Government to explain why it’s billing bushfire-affected farmers for the GST paid on government subsidies that funded the replacement of fencing destroyed in fires in East Gippsland and north-east Victoria.

Bushfire-affected farmers could access a subsidy of up to $75,000 from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to assist with replacing boundary fencing that bordered Crown land.

Reports today reveal one farmer was shocked to receive an invoice from DELWP demanding they repay thousands of dollars in GST.

Catastrophic bushfires in January came after many farmers had endured years of drought.

Comment attributable to Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Shadow Minister for Bushfire Recovery Peter Walsh

It’s unconscionable the Andrews Government would give out grants and then demand bushfire-affected farmers foot the bill for the GST – without warning and at a time when they can least afford it.

The Treasurer said he was looking for $4 billion in savings and he’s stooped to an appalling low to find those savings.

Farmers feel abandoned by Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes this week because she has failed to provide clarification that the food supply chain will be considered an essential service under any future restrictions put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The Minister owes farmers an explanation on why she has failed to stand up for them against the Treasurer’s plan to claw back these costs and why she’s been missing in action this week.

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