Today Barnaby Joyce claimed that the MYEFO confirms the importance of his agriculture white paper. His claim is based on MYEFO’s re-announcement of the same failed and misleading policies.
He has again claimed the white paper contains a $4 billion investment in the sector but he has once again failed to show where this money is being spent. Yet again, all Barnaby is talking about is farm welfare payments and repayable drought loans which the government lends at an interest rate which is higher than its borrowing costs. This is the ordinary work of government.
During recent Senate Estimates the Minister’s own department admitted that the drought loans were not a cost to Government:
Senator Cameron: All I am trying to get a handle on here is that $2.5 billion will not ever be a cost to government.
Mr Quinlivan: No. That is the very point; they are loans.
Senate Estimates, 20 October 2015
Barnaby Joyce also claims additional investment in research and investment but fails to any investment is a cut from elsewhere.
Barnaby Joyce’s agriculture white paper has been a failure.
That’s why organisations like the National Farmers Federation are going it alone, not waiting for Barnaby Joyce to realise a modern, profitable agriculture sector will only come through modern and innovative thinking.
Nothing in today’s MYEFO changes the assessment of the agriculture white paper – it remains a failure.