Government Drought Package a Joke
This week we saw the government announce how it planned to help drought affected farmers. While the announcement outlined $3.9 billion was going to farmers, in reality this is just going to be held in a bank account with only the interest going to farmers. Full story below.
WHAT A BLOODY JOKE!This morning I read the headline that the government was going to commit $3.9 billion to drought…
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT COMMITS $5 BILLION TO FUTURE DROUGHT FUND
From ABC NEWS 25/10/18
Helping farmers prepare for future droughts will be the focus of a new multi-billion-dollar fund that Prime Minister Scott Morrison will unveil today.
The $5-billion Future Drought Fund will be announced at a national drought summit, which brings together state and federal governments, weather experts, farm lobbyists and charities, in Canberra.
The Federal Government will initially commit $3.9 billion to the fund, which will reach $5 billion by 2028.
But only $100 million will be available each year from 2020, with that money being allocated by a board of guardians.
“This funding will support farmers and their local communities when it’s not raining,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
“It guarantees drought support for the men and women who drive our nation.”
Legislation to create the fund will have to pass the Parliament before it can be created.
Provided that happens, the interest gathered from the fund will go towards water infrastructure and drought resilience projects.
The focus will be on farmers, non-government organisations and communities to future-proof themselves to better handle droughts.
Money will be for community services, research, adoption of technology and infrastructure that supports long-term sustainability.
Money for the drought fund, which is modelled on the Medical Research Future Fund, will come from the Building Australia Fund, which has sat dormant since the 2014-15 financial year.
With a focus on future-proofing, it means the fund will sit separate to existing projects and funding that helps farmers when they are in drought.
“The challenges of drought vary from farm to farm, district to district, town to town and we continually need to adapt and build capacity,” Mr Morrison said.
Farmers hoping for firm policies
The drought summit comes as the commodity forecaster ABARES yesterday warned unfavourable seasonal conditions would further slash expected grain yields.
The summit will include presentations from the Bureau of Meteorology, ABARES, drought co-ordinator Major General Stephen Day, and drought envoy Barnaby Joyce.
The National Farmers’ Federation has demanded the summit be more than a talk-fest and instead offer concrete policies to support farmers.
It wants a new drought agreement between the federal and state governments, better risk management tools for farmers, and improvements to farmer support payments.
It also wants transport and infrastructure upgrades in regional communities that battle drought.
Opposition critical of drought forum
Opposition agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon has questioned whether the summit will be worthwhile.
Speaking ahead of the announcement on the multi-billion-dollar drought fund, he criticised the Government for piling such a large number of stakeholders into a short meeting.
“We’ve got two hours for 170 people to discuss long-term planning. It ain’t going to happen, sadly.”
Mr Fitzgibbon maintains the Government should have done more for communities that have been in entrenched drought for years.
“It’s somewhat extraordinary,” he said.
“We are in our seventh year of drought, this Government is now in its sixth year in office, and yet we’re having a drought summit to talk about drought.”
The National Farmers Federation came into these talks with a wish list of measures it wanted the Government to take up.
“Five billion dollars is no mean feat. It’s a significant amount of funding,” NFF president Fiona Simson said.
“Obviously we’ll be interested in some of the detail about what that money is to be spent on, what sort of programs will be supported.”
She said at first glance she was happy with the Government’s approach.
Gunnedah sheep and cattle farmer Chris Mammen is among those living on the land who are hoping that the Government’s policies help in the long term, and move beyond emergency payments.
“The drought policy doesn’t seem to match that versatility that most farmers try to strive for I guess,” he said.
“[It’s] like putting a round ball in a square hole sometimes.”
Read the original article here.