Prime Minister goes back to the future

At his media conference today the Prime Minister went back to the future by acknowledging the climate is changing in a way which is challenging our farmers and our agriculture sector.

He and his Agriculture Minister also used the term “building resilience”, a phrase rarely used by members of Malcolm Turnbull’s team.

But that’s where the progress ended. 

After five years in government the Prime Minister is using his drought tour to “listen and learn”, “listen and learn”, and “listen and learn”. It’s as if drought only just emerged.

Having finally used the “resilience” word, Malcolm Turnbull then proceeded to say “natural resource management is a matter for State Governments”.

Sadly, with the approval of both Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull, Barnaby Joyce abolished the CoAG processes for progressing drought reform.  As a result, no work has been done to progress or assess the current Intergovernmental Agreement on Drought Reform which will expire on July 1.

And as a result, no support is in place for farming families about to exhaust their three-year long entitlement to the Farm Household Allowance.

Today Agriculture Minister David Littleproud again embraced Barnaby Joyce’s spin by claiming the Government had “put $1 billion on the table” for drought.  It is very selective language which reflects the fact that this figure includes the capital value of concessional loans over many years, whether they are taken up or not.

More debt is rarely the answer for drought affected farmers.

At his media conference today the Prime Minister and his Agriculture Minister studiously avoided expressing a view about what more the government can do for our farmers. Rather, we only heard; ”listen and learn”.

The truth is; it was all about the 6 o’clock news.


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