Treasurer Josh Frydenberg hasn’t read the final report of the Drought Coordinator, Major General Stephen Day, despite it being with the Government since April.
The Treasurer – together with Drought Minister David Littleproud – convened a press conference in drought-affected Queensland this morning and when asked if he had read the final report of the Drought Coordinator, the Treasurer said, “I have not read his final report,” before asking Minister Littleproud to step in.
Major General Stephen Day was appointed as the Drought Coordinator-General in August 2018 and was tasked with assessing the national drought response and providing advice to government on gaps and emerging risks and options to address them; the development of a long-term drought resilience and preparedness strategy; and to coordinate a comprehensive national drought response with affected state, territory and local governments, the private sector, and Non-Government Organisations.
His report was received by the Prime Minister in April.
“It’s an astonishing admission from the man the Prime Minister has sent to find out, after six years, how the drought is affecting our farmers and rural communities, Shadow Minister for Agriculture Joel Fitzgibbon said.
“It raises a new question: has Scott Morrison read the document he’s keeping secret?”
Mr Fitzgibbon noted another astonishing admission from the press conference: “David Littleproud told the same media conference that the Government is waiting for the National Farmers Federation to develop its drought policy. This is after six years of government. What is the government waiting for?
“Josh Frydenberg has surely been on the ground enough. It’s time he returned to Canberra to read Major General Day’s report and actually do something.”
Mr Fitzgibbon said the Drought Coordinator wrote a drought strategy document that was supposed to advise the Government and ensure efforts were coordinated. It cost an estimated $5.6 million, yet it has been kept secret by the Prime Minister since it was transmitted in April.
“Now we find out the Treasurer hasn’t even read it. It’s disgraceful to drought-affected Australians.”
Joel Fitzgibbon has demanded that the Morrison Government release the Drought Coordinator’s report today.