Having failed drought affected farming families the Turnbull Government is now ramping up its propaganda machine in an attempt to fool people into believing it is acting.
Today's media stories that Minister Littleproud will make changes to the asset tests and review the Farm Household Allowance (FHA) will do little to help farmers or progress drought policy reform. The biggest challenge for farmers applying for FHA is securing the payment. Nothing has changed.
The fact is the Turnbull Government has already reviewed the current drought measures and is yet to publish its final response to the review.
Further questions need to be asked as to what the Turnbull Government is doing to ensure that the mutual obligations attached to the FHA payment such as the Financial Improvement Agreement are properly assessed.
For five year the Coalition Government has allowed progress on drought reform to stall. Rather than working with the States to find real, long-term solutions, the Turnbull Government has relied on difficult to access loans which are rarely a solution in any case.
At one stage the Turnbull Government was spruiking the Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) aka Barnaby’s Bank as a solution for farmers but his pork barrelling exercises never gets a mention any more. Another Barnaby Joyce boondoggle, the RIC has become an embarrassment for the Government and a waste of taxpayer dollars.
The path to real and meaningful drought policy starts with full and proper cooperation and collaboration with the States and the key focus must be resilience and adaptation building. Sadly the Coalition Government abolished the Primary Industries COAG committee and has allowed the Intergovernmental Agreement on Drought Reform to expire.
It’s an insult to drought affected farming families for the Turnbull Government to give false hope to farmers which is of no merit in any case.