I desperately wanted to welcome the Abbott Government’s latest drought package announced by the Minister for Agriculture today. Sadly, Barnaby Joyce hasn’t given me that opportunity.
The original package announced following the Prime Minister’s February drought tour has been a failure.
This new package offers no new money and no new help for in-drought farmers.
There are 4 key points:
1. Drought recovery loans will do nothing for farmers while the drought continues;
2. There is no new money. Funding is being taken out of an existing farm-help package to pay for the new package;
3. No change has been made to the eligibility criteria for Farm Household Allowance, nor has the application process been improved;
4. No changes have been made to improve access to the existing Drought Concessional loans program which farmers have either rejected as unhelpful or found impossible to secure.
The package announced today will provide no immediate assistance for drought affected farmers.
Christmas is still looking bleak for drought affected farming families.
THURSDAY, 4 DECEMBER 2014