According to the Bureau of Meteorology, parts of Western Australia have recorded the lowest rainfall levels on record.
Despite this, Western Australian farmers are not eligible to apply for the Government’s latest inadequate drought package, or any other drought package.
Today I desperately wanted to welcome the Abbott Government’s latest drought package. Sadly, Barnaby Joyce hasn’t given me a reason do to so.
The package announced today 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 Western Australian farmers.
Labor remains willing and ready to provide bi-partisan support for an effective drought assistance package.
THURSDAY, 4 DECEMBER 2014