The Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Estimates Committee last night exposed that the Regional Investment Corporation (RIC), a trademark Barnaby Joyce boondoggle, is failing to deliver on time farm business concessional loans and still has not received one loan application for water infrastructure projects.
The RIC was a Barnaby Joyce self-interested pork-barrel post the NSW, Orange State by-election where the National Party lost the seat for the first time in 69 years.
So you guessed it, the RIC is based in Orange.
Further, the then Agriculture Minister used his position to mislead Australian farmers and regional and rural communities as to role of the RIC, falsely claiming that the RIC was a “regional bank up and running for the future growth and prosperity of regional and rural communities.”
The RIC CEO, Bruce King, confirmed last night that the RIC is not a regional bank. He also confirmed that the RIC had received 271 loan applications since July 2018 and 69 per cent of the loans come from NSW and Queensland. But to date the RIC has only managed to finalise 31 of these applications and Mr King acknowledged that “applications have been waiting for an extended period of time”.
The Morrison Government claimed that “the RIC will deliver a streamlined and nationally consistent application process for farm business concessional loans, with flexibility to act swiftly to respond when hardships like drought or an industry crisis hit.”
Against all these measures the RIC is failing and our farmers and rural and regional communities are suffering the consequences.
The Morrison Government cannot be trusted to put the interest of our farmers ahead of the political interest of their coalition partner and their ill-thought-out pork-barrels and boondoggles.