Long-awaited funding to fight the outbreak of the cattle disease Mycoplasma Bovis will be welcome news to affected farmers, but it remains to be seen how quickly compensation will be paid out, National’s Primary Industries spokesperson Nathan Guy says.

“The Government’s announced funding of $85 million for operational and compensation costs but it looks like they’ve included $10 million previously set aside, and the $11 million that industry has been asked to stump up.

“It’s highly likely the Government’s contribution has been reprioritised from other funds that have been shelved. We know that irrigation projects have been put on ice – and the Primary Growth Partnership’s R&D funding has been raided to rebrand MPI.

“Given the massive spending pressures the Coalition is already under I can’t imagine the Finance Minister Grant Robertson writing out a new cheque for Damien O’Connor.

Bio-security spokesperson Barbara Kuriger says she hopes that the funding will at least mean the compensation process for affected farmers can move at pace.

“I’m pleased there is finally some relief and certainty for our farmers and rural communities. The sector has been crying out for this support for a long time now.

“The overall response has been too slow and the incursion has spread.

“It is imperative that farmers lodge a claim for compensation. So far it seems that just 51 have made claims for compensation out of 1500 that have potentially been affected.

“Of those 51, just 10 have been paid in full or in part so I’m urging all affected farmers to lodge a claim and get themselves in the system,” Mrs Kuriger says.

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