Media Release - Audit Office Asked to Examine Government's Drought Spending - Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Labor’s Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Resources Joel Fitzgibbon has asked the Auditor-General to investigate the Government’s drought programs.

Mr Fitzgibbon today wrote to the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) asking the Auditor-General to examine the Morrison Government’s drought response initiatives including:

  • The inexplicable claim the Government has committed $7 billion in “drought support funding”;
  • The design, implementation, value and effectiveness of all drought programs;
  • The criteria underpinning the Drought Communities Program which excluded local government areas that were clearly more drought-affected than some that were included; and
  • The Government’s refusal to release the Drought Coordinator’s report.

“As large parts of Australia suffer the worst drought on record, the Government’s response has been ad hoc, confusing and lacking in direction,” said Mr Fitzgibbon.
“Farmers and rural communities are tiring of Prime Ministerial drought tours, empty talk about dams, exaggerated funding announcements and now, what appears to be political favouritism and pork barrelling.
“Our farmers have become Scott Morrison’s forgotten people.  Having stalled the process in 2013, it’s past time the Government developed a comprehensive and strategic national drought plan”.

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