Federal Member for Calare Andrew Gee is calling for his colleagues to support him in a shake-up of the grain industry to help drought-stricken farmers.
With NSW moving closer to running out of feed for stock, Mr Gee said there have been some massive buys in the market recently, with much of the grain being stockpiled in expectation of the price increasing.
The result is a lack of grain available for farmers in need.
If private channels couldn’t deliver the feed – especially from Western Australia’s bumper harvest – the government needed to underwrite shipments and get the grain to the Central West as soon as possible, Mr Gee said.
That’s what the farmers here are asking me to do, and by crickey, I’m going to have a crack at it.Member for Calare Andrew Gee
“You’ve got to remember most MPs are not in the country, they’re in the city and you’ve got to put it to them and tell them how dire it is,” he said.
“That’s what the farmers here are asking me to do, and by crickey, I’m going to have a crack at it.
“People are managing as best they can and people are working very hard to get through it, but everyone is very worried about what the future holds, and in the absence of rain we’re just going to have to keep ramping up the support and getting the support to where it’s needed.”
Mr Gee said he hoped even by raising the possibility of the government getting involved in the east coast grain market it would “shake a bit of that grain out” of the people who were sitting on it.
Stephen Kiss, a farmer outside Wellington, said he was going through about 20 tonnes of feed per week for his stock.
He said the attitude around the region was pretty positive, but it was frustrating seeing others use the rising costs to their advantage.
“We were buying grain under $400 [per tonne] last week and now it’s up near $500. It’s gone up 25, 30 per cent in the last week,” Mr Kiss said.
“I don’t mind people making money out of it but there are people out there who are now gouging out of it.”
Mr Gee said farmers weren’t looking for free grain, they just wanted a guaranteed supply at a reasonable price.
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