DEPUTY mayor aspirant Cr Henk van de Ven has succeeded with a push to have Albury Council contribute financially to drought-affected farmers.
A notice of motion presented this week by Cr van de Ven calling on council to make a $25,000 donation was unanimously supported.
But his original plan to make a $25,000 contribution to the “Buy A Bale” movement was altered before the meeting to enable mayor Kevin Mack and general manager Frank Zaknich to determine the best method of support in consultation with the Riverina and Murray Joint Organisation of which the mayor is the chairman.
“(The drought) is already having massive impacts on our rural communities,” Cr van de Ven said.
“We had our first double digit rainfall a few days ago for probably eight or nine months.
“We are in green drought here and everything looks good, but it won’t take long for us with warm weather and no rain to be in a similar situation.
“It’s not a massive amount of money to be contributing, but we need to be showing some leadership to make a contribution where it can help.”
Deputy mayor Amanda Cohn, who is seeking another term in the role, queried how her challenger for the position arrived at the $25,000 figure and what impacts it would have on other projects in the pipeline.
“There was no discussion with staff and it was a figure I thought appropriate under the circumstances,” Cr van de Ven said.
He said Enzed franchises of which he was one had already donated $40,000.
Mr Zaknich said the $25,000 could be easily found.
“Certainly there are sources in the budget from savings or additional income to fund this type of initiative in these very difficult circumstances,” he said.
Under the “Buy A Bale” initiative, $25,000 could buy two semi-trailer loads of hay transported to an area within 900km.