Another week has passed but still no Agriculture White Paper.
It was a week of no official excuses for the failure to produce a White Paper but one replete with pre-Budget spin and promises about future spending without any detail on where, how, and when the money will be spent; or how much the States, Territories and Local Government will be expected to stump up.
We still have no coherent, overarching strategic plan for Australian agriculture. The wait continues and the agriculture sector is fast losing patience.
National Farmers Federation President Brent Finlay said yesterday :
Currently, producers across large tracts of NSW and Queensland are facing their third year without income as a result of drought, and Federal Government support is falling short for those in need.
In addition to providing hope for drought-affected farmers in the short term, the NFF is hoping to see long term vision in the budget in the form of allocations for: rural infrastructure; ongoing market access efforts; research and development; and a pool of funds for the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.
Drought affected farming families are now desperate. Its past time Tony Abbott conceded his drought package has been a failure, redirected the money into a more helpful scheme, and restored the Federal Assistance Grants he took from Local Governments.