Visit the new Dairy Farmer Central website for the latest information on help available.
- Farmer support
- Small business support
- Skills and training support
- Emotional and health support
- Personal assistance.
The Victorian dairy industry is currently experiencing challenging economic and seasonal conditions.
The Victorian Government is supporting the Victorian dairy industry with a comprehensive $13.5 million package, which includes:
- health and wellbeing support
- on-farm business advice and decision-making support
- a Dairy Development Grants Program to support dairy farmers implement farm improvements and help businesses rebuild
- a Rural Skills Connect Program which uses the transferable skills in the dairy community to meet rural industry skill gaps, promotes reskilling and provides opportunities for traineeships
- a Kindergarten Fee Subsidy which provides dairy farming families with 15 hours of free kindergarten per week in the year before school
- additional payments for dairy farm families under the Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund
- dedicated Small Business Counsellors in the Rural Financial Counselling Service
- increased funding for the Rural Financial Counselling Service
- further Targeted Dairy Technical Support
- Back to Work scheme subsidies.
The Department of Education and Training also offers a range of services to support the skills and training needs of farmers, impacted farm workers and other small businesses.
The dairy industry is also providing $5.2 million to support farmers. Victorian dairy industry bodies, including United Dairyfarmers of Victoria, Dairy Australia and the Gardiner Foundation, are increasing communication, technical and decision making support for dairy farmers by boosting programs such as Tactics for Tight Times and Taking Stock.
Initiative/Service: Tactics for tight times
Delivers programs and information for dairy farmers and service providers with clear messages, information, tools and resources to support key decision making on-farm. This includes:
- Taking Stock
- Seasonal Update Information Sessions
- Feed Budgeting & Purchasing Risk Management
- Dairy Discussion Groups.
Dairy Australia: (03) 9694 3777
West VicDairy: (03) 5557 1000
Murray Dairy: (03) 5833 5312
GippsDairy: (03) 5624 3900
Initiative/Service: Rural financial counselling
Free and independent financial information, options, decision support and referral services.
Call 1800 686 175 (toll free) or call:
Western RFCS: 1300 735 578
Eastern RFCS: (03) 5662 2566
North East RFCS: 1300 834 775
North West RFCS: 1300 769 489
Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans
Low interest loans of up to $1 million (capped at 50% of the Farm Business's Final Debt Position) are available to eligible dairy farm businesses affected by Murray Goulburn's and Fonterra's 2016 decisions to reduce farm gate milk prices.
Call 1300 796 101 or visit the Rural Finance website.
Initiative/Service: Targeted dairy technical support
Agriculture Victoria will provide more targeted dairy technical support for dairy farmers.
Call the Agriculture Victoria Information Line on 136 186.
Initiative/Service: Farming information
Information to assist farmers with a broad range of agricultural issues, including animal health and welfare information and upcoming workshops and events.
Call the Agriculture Victoria Information Line on 136 186 or visit the drought page.
Initiative/Service: Farm Household Allowance
Income support payment, available to eligible farmers and their families experiencing financial hardship.
Call 13 23 16 or visit Department of Human Services.
Initiative/Service: Farm debt mediation
The scheme makes it compulsory for banks and other creditors to offer mediation to farmers before commencing debt recovery proceedings on farm mortgages.
Initiative/Service: Australian Government Farmer Assistance hotline
Information on the Commonwealth Government's support services available to farmers and rural communities (e.g. Farm Household Allowance).
Farmer Assistance Hotline: 132 316.
Initiative/Service: Farm management deposits
Assists primary producers to deal more effectively with fluctuations in cash flows.
Initiative/Service: National Centre for Farmer Health
Research, workshops and other programs to improve the health, safety and well-being of farm men and women, farm workers, their families and communities across Australia. The very popular Sustainable Farm Families program can be arranged for dairying communities.
For further information, call (03) 5551 8533 or visit Farmer Health.
Small business support
Initiative/Service: Small business financial counsellors
Small business financial counsellors in the Eastern and North Eastern RFCS regions are available to support non-agriculture related small businesses impacted by the dairy industry downturn.
Small Business counsellors are already operating in North West and Western Victoria.
Western RFCS: 1300 735 578
Eastern RFCS: (03) 5662 2566
North East RFCS: 1300 834 775
North West RFCS: 1300 769 489.
Initiative/Service: Back to Work
The Back to Work scheme has been extended to make members of a dairy farm household an eligible category of employee.
Employers will receive up to $5000 when they hire someone from a farm household affected by the dairy crisis.
State Revenue Office: 13 21 61.
Initiative/Service: Small Business Workshops
Small businesses in Victoria's dairy regions – including South West Victoria, Northern Victoria and Gippsland – can access expert mentoring and advice from experienced industry specialists to help them make informed business decisions during this financially stressful period.
Small Business Victoria: 13 22 15
Skills and training support
Initiative/Service: Rural Skills Connect Program
This measure addressed the vital skills gaps in Victoria by utilising the transferable skills in dairy communities to meet rural industry skills shortages.
Three program managers were appointed in each of the Gippsland, Northern Victoria and south-west dairy regions for a 12-month period from January 2017 to January 2018. They were located in Regional Development Victoria offices in Shepparton, Traralgon and Warrnambool.
Initiative/Service: Victorian Training Guarantee (VTG) exemptions
Students can access government subsidies for training at the same level or a lower level of qualification than they already hold, in order to reskill, re-enter employment and reengage with the economy and their community. This is critical, as it will support people to enter new fields of employment and assist those who may have used their VTG entitlements on prior quality training.
VTG exemptions are available across Victoria through TAFE institutes, dual sector universities and Learn Local organisations.
Contact the TAFE and Training Line on 131 823 or contact via email at email@example.com.
More information is available on the Victorian Training Guarantee.
Emotional and health support
24/7 telephone counselling – Connect with someone who cares.
13 11 14
Information about issues associated with depression and anxiety.
1300 224 636
24/7 phone service that provides immediate, expert health advice from a registered nurse.
1300 60 60 24.
Initiative/Service: Mensline Australia
24/7 service for men with relationship and family concerns.
1300 78 99 78.
Initiative/Service: Kids Help Line
24/7 telephone and online counselling service for young people.
1800 55 1800
Initiative/Service: Family Relationship Service
Providing families with access to information about family relationship issues.
1800 050 321
Initiative/Service: Victorian Better Health Channel
Health and medical information that is quality assured, reliable, up to date, easy to understand, regularly reviewed and locally relevant.
Initiative/Service: Find a mental health service
Mental health consultations
Contact your local GP for a referral.
Initiative/Service: Building Emotional Resilience fact sheet
The fact sheet includes practical ways to help build mental and emotional resilience and signposting to further resources.
Initiative/Service: Victorian State Concessions
The Victorian Government offers a number of concessions designed to assist and improve the affordability of essential services for low-income Victorian households.
Initiative/Service: Foodbank Victoria
Foodbank distributes meals to individuals and families across regional, rural and metro areas of Victoria, helping to feed over 100,000 Victorians each month.
(03) 9362 8300.
Initiative/Service: Back to School
Children from disadvantaged families attending Victorian Government Schools are provided with uniforms, shoes and other essential items.
Contact your School Principal, Assistant Principal or Welfare Coordinator.