It is now three weeks since Barnaby Joyce briefed journalists about a new assistance package for drought ravaged communities in Queensland and NSW. Since then, nothing has happened.
Farmers in parts of western NSW and large parts of Queensland have been without rain for three years. Many cannot hold on much longer without help. The economies of these rural communities are also suffering as a result.
These are the same economies struggling as a result of the Abbott Government’s cuts to Federal Assistance Grants to local councils.
The impact of Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce’s cuts for some of the worse drought affected electorates is massive.
• New England to lose $14,839,326
• Maranoa $42,580,427
• Kennedy $27,698,012
• Parkes $29,594,038
Longreach Regional Council alone will lose $3.3 million. That’s more than $3 million that would have been invested on much-needed local job-creation projects.
Having raised the hope of desperate farming families and their local communities with the announcement of this proposal, Barnaby Joyce must now deliver.
Again I call on the Government to be honest with drought affected communities about where the money is coming from and when.
TUESDAY, 5 MAY 2015