Speaking on 2GB radio this afternoon, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack nominated rainfall in 2016 as an excuse for the Government’s drought response failures.
Joel Fitzgibbon: We needed real and meaningful assistance for our farmers not next year, we needed it six years ago. He’s failed to deliver and that’s why he lost it in Question Time today. He’s been exposed; he’s been found out.
Ben Fordham: Michael McCormack?
Michael McCormack: Yeah, well that’s just a nonsense, and the fact is in 2016, in my area, in fact, there was almost too much rain.
Farmers across Australia will be shaking their collective heads in bewilderment. Our farmers are in the grip of a severe, seven-year-long drought. Michael McCormack owes them all an apology for his insensitive remarks.
One of the Coalition Government’s first acts following the 2013 election was to abolish the COAG committee charged with the responsibility of developing a drought strategy fit for the 21st Century.
Since then we’ve had a Drought Envoy, a Drought Coordinator, a Drought Task Force and a Drought Summit but no real and meaningful drought strategy.
The Farm Household Allowance has been too hard to access for too many, and now farmers are being told they have been on it too long and are being forced off the payment.
Concessional loans have been an inexpensive tool for pretending to do something but for most farmers, more debt or the shuffling of debt is of no help whatsoever.
The heavily spruiked Future Drought Fund will not deliver money until July 2020 – seven years since the drought emerged – and the money is unlikely to go to farmers in any case.
After six long years, it’s time for Scott Morrison and Michael McCormack to act in support of our farmers, farming families and rural communities