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Australia Government is continuing drought support

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke said the Rudd Government is continuing drought support for Australia’s farmers.

He said the National Party was incorrectly telling farmers their drought support would be cut off.

“It is important to help farmers in times of unforeseen difficulty, to provide support to their families and businesses,” Mr Burke said.

“No-one from the National Party checked with me or my office before telling 20,000 farmers that their drought assistance is ending – which is absolutely untrue,” Mr Burke said.

“As the Treasurer told Parliament today, the Budget Papers this year followed the same system of drought support as the Coalition when it was in Government.

“Under that system, support is completely demand-driven, so it can only be allocated for the 12 months ahead because we don’t know what conditions will be like in two or three years’ time.

“It is extremely irresponsible for the National Party to give incorrect information to people who are already in distress due to years of drought.”

The 2009-10 Budget provides $715 million for on-going drought support measures, including Exceptional Circumstances assistance.

Meanwhile, the Government is continuing to talk with industry to discuss how to reform the system to better prepare farmers for the future.

“We have been absolutely clear – we will not change the drought support system for farmers currently receiving assistance,” Mr Burke said.

Mr Burke said Mr Cobb also incorrectly claimed that the final Productivity Commission report on drought support recommended current EC declarations cease by 30 June 2010.

That was contained in the draft report but abandoned in the final report.

“The National Party has clearly not read the final Productivity Commission report,” Mr Burke said.
“They also chose not to make a submission, although I welcome the contribution of more than 80 community and industry groups who did make a submission ahead of the final report being completed.”

by S. C.
15 may 2009, World News > Oceania