After an unacceptable delay in responding to the dairy crisis, Barnaby Joyce thought doing the minimum would get him past election day.
But as the days pass by, farmers are coming to realise that his $550 million package is actually a $45 million package, and accessing assistance is not going to be easy.
Farmers are also increasingly aware that the concessional loans scheme Mr Joyce has announced is simply an extension of the existing scheme, which farmers have either been unable to qualify for, or have seen no benefit in.
Barnaby Joyce’s $550 million figure represents the total value of all loans if they were fully subscribed, rather than the costs of delivering the loans.
And today we’ve learned that just $30 million in loans will be available to Victorian farmers over the next five months, even though the state is home to nearly 70 per cent of Australia's dairy farms.
Victoria will also only receive just over half of the $900,000 allocated for extra rural financial counsellors.
Barnaby Joyce needs to take the crisis seriously and do more.
He could start by joining with me in my call for Murray Goulburn to return more of their
$40 million profit and investment dividends to farmers by way of a higher farm gate milk price.
That would put cash immediately into the bank accounts of farmers and reduce their debts to their processor.