AgForce Queensland president Georgie Somerset

November 7, 2019

AgForce Qld has welcomed the Federal Government’s new drought support measures, saying they will deliver much-needed economic stimulus for farm-dependent communities and small businesses.

The latest drought package, announced on Thursday, includes $709 million in direct support, no-interest periods for drought loans for farmers and small businesses, further support for rural schools and remote students, and economic stimulus for regional communities.

AgForce general president Georgie Somerset said regional Queensland would welcome any and all assistance available from all levels of government as the drought showed no signs of easing.

“While there has been some rainfall in certain parts of Queensland recently, it has been nowhere near enough to provide any real relief for farmers and communities besieged by this crippling drought,” Mrs Somerset said.

“The government’s decision to redirect $200 million into a Building Better Regions Fund drought round to support new projects that deliver social and economic benefits to drought-affected communities is vital.”

Mrs Somerset said AgForce was also looking for the State Government to do more.

“AgForce wrote to the Premier’s office weeks ago seeking to have talks with the State Government to secure a commitment to increase the amount of drought assistance available, including funding local government to provide rates relief,” she said.

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Drought Minister and Member for Maranoa David Littleproud

Drought Minister and Member for Maranoa David Littleproud said the new drought package would boost local jobs and respond to individual community’s needs.

“On top of the $1 million we’ve delivered to 122 Councils, we’ll make another $1 million available for those still in need,” he said.

“We’ve also set up a $50 million fund for Council projects in drought-hit communities for things like community hall renovations and playground upgrades.

“This will boost rural economies with more jobs and more business for regional suppliers like the local hardware store.”

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New Drought Package

The Federal Government’s new measures include:

  • Making new and existing drought loans for farmers interest-free for two years so they can buy fodder, pay for freight and pay farm hands. Years three to five will be interest-only payments and years six to 10 will be interest and principal. The current scheme is the first five years are interest-only payments, and interest and principal payments for the balance of the loan term.
  • A new program for small businesses dependent on agriculture with loans worth up to $500,000 that can be used to pay staff, buy equipment and refinance. It follows the same new payment scheme as the drought loans for farmers.
  • $10 million to support schools facing financial hardship as a result of ongoing drought conditions, including fee concessions for boarding students.
  • $5 million from the Community Child Care Fund to help centres that are experiencing decreased demand and financial pressure due to families from drought-affected areas being unable to pay for child care.
  • An extra $1 million for each of the 122 drought-affected Councils and Shires if they need it.
  • $50 million discretionary fund to support projects in Local Government Areas impacted by the drought.
  • Redirecting $200 million into a Building Better Regions Fund drought round to support new projects that deliver social and economic benefits to drought-affected communities.
  • $138.9 million additional Roads to Recovery funding in calendar year 2020 for the 128 Local Government Areas eligible for the Drought Communities Program Extension.

These are on top of existing programs:

  • Simplified and expanded access to the Farm Household Allowance (four in 10-year payment). Households are eligible for about $105,000 as well as an extra payment of $13,000 for couples.
  • $3000 cash payments for families under the Drought Communities Support Initiative.
  • $25 million to help farmers combat pests and weeds; $2.7 million to improve regional weather and climate guides; and $77.2 million for Bureau of Meteorology radars.
  • $2 billion available in concessional loans through the Regional Investment Corporation to help farmers and small businesses prepare for, manage through and recover from drought.
  • $5 million for the Rural Financial Counselling Service.
  • $1 million for 122 Councils and Shires in drought-affected areas to invest in projects that support jobs and business income.
  • $30 million for targeted mental health support.
  • $50 million funding for major charities to assist rural Australians in desperate need with up to $3000 in individual support payments.

2 Responses to "AgForce Welcomes Drought Package"

  1. Disgruntled  November 7, 2019

    Littleproud is in my humble opinion still making a huge balls-up with the Murray-Darling water. They just do not get it!!

    They, the govt are still not yet doing anything about the separation of water and land which happened back in 04, meaning that any spurious investor from anywhere can own water without even owning a portage stamp size parcel of land. They (the water owners) can then control that water and add to it by weird carryovers thereby artificially creating shortages and then fleece the real farmer with highly inflated prices. This can almost be classed as corrupt fraud!

    Nobody can pay near a thousand dollars a meg. for a once-only use of water, not even growing hooch!

    Do something David! Don’t just stand around looking like a startled deer caught in the headlights. Time to fix it is fast running out and soon it will be too late; it nearly is now.

    The govt still is persisting on sending down thousands and thousands of megs. of so called “environmental ” water to keep “fresh” a big lake which many years ago alternated between fresh and salty while farmers way upstream cannot extract a drop even when the river is running a banker. This water is mostly wasted with evaporation.

    It would appear the MDBA could be, or is, controlled by extreme leftie greenie people who have no concern for PEOPLE that need the water.

    The Wyangalla dam was recently emptied to water a swamp a few hundred k’s downstream, thereby leaving four big towns desperately short. What really was the need of the swamp over people in this very desperate time.

    Never mind though, it’ll pour rain tomorrow, won’t it?

    I am right over this. When the environment is given full and total preference over people, there must really be something gone wrong. Fact is that without dams there would be NO environmental water at all.

    Soon we will have no farmers, not to mention produce.

    A looming issue is almonds in SA when they get to maturity. There are vast areas planted and by “big money” groups and when mature, almonds’ water requirements makes the hugely criticised cotton look like a real dryland crop.

    The way water use now is set up it is designed to run to money “the highest payer” even if it needs to run uphill. This almost gives no future to the standard basic crop grower as he has no hope of competing with the very high value crops. This is NOT GOOD at all!

    The $2.7 million to improve regional weather and climate guides is really not much use. I downloaded one and found it would be of little use to me. The info given can be accessed at a number of other sites so it is only a feel-good statement promise given to make someone think they are doing something.

    If the current Govt doesn’t soon get cracking I’m afraid they will, next election, feel a fair bit of pain from the intelligent independents, and with good reason too! The Nats do seem to be wallowing somewhat and, golly, don’t mention some of the Libs, either. Some of Australia’s pollies are really wandering in their own wilderness!

  2. Trevor W Sullivan  November 8, 2019

    I saw the proud and boastful Mr Littleproud on 7.30 last night. He quietly bragged about the “suite” of LNP programmes to address the drought.

    He said that it will rain again – mighty boastful words coming from a man who has no power to “make one hair (of his head) white or black” (Matthew 5:36).

    Just how, I wonder, does he think it is going to rain again, if the God in heaven, Who gave us this drought, Whom Mr Littleproud made no reference to whatsoever, deems it necessary to continue it?

    And, will this great God in heaven make a point of showing that the LNP is too late to save a country which is almost ruined already? Had they listened to Fraser Anning and One Nation or even Joh Petersen before, it might have been a very different story, but no, they just had to join all their other Marxist mates to oppose anything good for Australia’s welfare and sovereignty.

    It apparently didn’t occur to Mr Littleproud that if this drought (the one we have upon us right now!) continues for just a few more weeks, the whole country could be brought to its knees in an old-fashioned famine.

    The Lord Jesus, Who sits on heaven’s throne, ruling the nations with a rod of iron (Psalm 2 & Revelation 12:5), is making a point to Australia at this time, and whether those who choose to ignore Him are Littleproud or Muchproud, they are certainly Muchunwise.


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