It’s been “hats off” at each of Malcolm Turnbull’s press conferences this week. It seems we’ve been witnessing some rebranding with the Prime Minister seeking to distance himself from his former hat wearing Deputy.
The Prime Minister’s language has changed too, suddenly, “climate change” and “resilience” have become part of the Government’s drought narrative.
However, the Regional Investment Corporation (RIC), or the “Barnaby Bank” as it was dubbed, was not mentioned during the recent “listen and learn” drought tour. Yet earlier this year David Littleproud, when he was in the Northern Territory, was saying that, “The RIC will support eligible farm businesses by helping them build and maintain diversity in the markets they supply, to take advantage of new and emerging opportunities and manage through difficult periods like droughts.”
With just 23 days to its start-up date, the RIC boondoggle is without a CEO or staff. The $28 million allocated for the RIC would be much better spent helping farmers build the resilience that the Prime Minister is finally talking about.
It’s not too late to put a stop to the multi-million dollar RIC madness and it’s not too late to put the mistakes of the last five years behind us and to restore a proper CoAG process for drought reform.