Revelations that Barnaby Joyce has blamed the need to spend more drought assistance funding in NSW to deny Queensland farmers assistance is further evidence that his drought policy has been badly designed and is a failure.
Meanwhile, the Government has been unable to spend the money allocated for drought concessional loans because farmers either can’t access them or have concluded they won’t help.
And farmers are lining up for practical assistance like drought-proofing water infrastructure rebates, but Barnaby Joyce refuses to fund them.
Many farmers in NSW invested money in the expectation they would receive a rebate. But the money allocated was so modest the scheme was oversubscribed and had to be closed early. Without warning, farmers were told the money had run out and were denied the rebate. As a result they were left out-of-pocket at a most difficult time.
Barnaby Joyce has since been forced to allocate more money to NSW to assist these farmers but has instructed the Queensland Government to warn that State’s farmers the money available for the scheme is capped.
Barnaby Joyce must now address the plight of Queensland farmers and explain why invitations for applications for the Emergency Infrastructure Rebate scheme were staggered across States and regions.