Barnaby Joyce has been caught out again misleading the Parliament by embellishing the effectiveness of his failed drought package.
Under questioning from me in the Parliament last night, the Agriculture Minister claimed of his drought loans:-
“There are certain areas where we have had full, virtually full drawn facilities and in other areas not so much” (this is what he actually said, not what the Hansard records!)
But today he was forced to return to the House to again correct his answer because the reality is much different.
The Government’s Drought Concessional Loans and Drought Recovery Concessional Loans have been significantly under-subscribed in all areas – just some worse than others.
Drought Concessional Loans
Budget allocation - $270 million Approved Loans - $114, 948 million (42 per cent)
Drought Recovery Loans
Budget allocation - $100 million Approved - $2.79 million (2.79 per cent)
Drought recovery loans are only available to farmers in NSW and Queensland. In Queensland the money allocated was $50 million. The loans approved totalled just $2.34 million. In NSW the outcome is worse – of the $50 million allocated, just $450,000 or less than 1 per cent has gone to farmers.
Barnaby Joyce keeps ducking and weaving in an attempt to cover-up his failure to help drought-affected farming families. Last night I also asked him for information about what the loans will have cost the Government once repaid but we are still waiting for that embarrassing answer.
THURSDAY, 18 JUNE 2015