On Friday, the Prime Minister added 13 Councils to the list of those eligible for funding under the Drought Communities Program. While Victoria’s Moyne Shire was surprised to be included, drought-affected parts of the Hunter and Eden Monaro electorates were not.
The Drought Communities Programme (DCP) is supposed to deliver benefits in targeted drought-affected regions of Australia.
According to the Morrison Government, Muswellbrook is in drought, but Singleton is not. Bega is but Yass is not. The former Drought Envoy must have left Singleton and a number of townships within the electorate Eden Monaro off the text message. Farmers and small businesses operators in these towns hold a different view.
Representations by Mike Kelly, Member for Eden Monaro, and I on behalf of these communities have again been ignored and people are right to be angry. They are among Scott Morrison’s forgotten people.
The decision to leave these drought-affected communities off the list is yet another example of the inadequacy and ad hoc nature of the Morrison Government’s drought response. So too is the inclusion of Victoria’s Moyne Shire where the local Mayor has been surprised by their inclusion and a local Councillor said: “how can we accept it when there are northern farmers suffering dreadfully and we are not?”
Scott Morrison must release Major General Stephen Day’s report. Farmers and rural communities have the right to know what is being considered about their future. Otherwise, not only are they Scott Morrison’s forgotten people, they are also his ignored and silenced people.