According to the Bureau of Meteorology, parts of South Australia have recorded the lowest rainfall levels on record.

Rabobank’s Rural Confidence Survey released today reported:

“Australian farmer confidence has fallen this quarter, with dry conditions in western Victoria and much of South Australia weighing on sentiment”.

Despite all this, South Australian farmers are not eligible to apply for the Government’s latest inadequate drought package.

I desperately wanted to welcome the Abbott Government’s latest drought package announced today.  Sadly, Barnaby Joyce hasn’t given me a reason to do so.

The package will provide no immediate assistance for drought affected farmers.  

Christmas is still looking bleak for drought-affected farming families.

There are 5 key points:

1. Drought recovery loans will do nothing for farmers while the drought continues;
2. There is no new money.  Funding is being taken out of an existing farm-help package to pay for the new package;
3. No change has been made to the eligibility criteria for Farm Household Allowance, nor has the application process been improved;
4. No changes have been made to improve access to the existing Drought Concessional loans program which farmers have either rejected as unhelpful or found impossible to secure; and
5. Only NSW and Queensland famers can apply for the new post-drought loans.
The original package announced following the Prime Minister’s February drought tour has been a failure. The new package offers no new money and no new help for South Australian farmers.

This abandonment of South Australian farmers by the Abbott Government comes on top of their other failures to support the South Australian submarine and car manufacturing industries.

Labor remains willing and ready to provide bi-partisan support for an effective drought assistance package.


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