Farm help funds have yet to flow as drought drags on
Federal and state governments have not begun to deliver a promised $280 million concessional loan program for farmers.
The loans were announced to drought-hit farmers over two months ago after a well-publicised tour by the Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.
But farmers say they have seen nothing.
Charles Burke, from Queensland farm lobby group AgForce, has told the ABC that while the problems persist, governments continue to ignore them.
“Many of the people that we speak to are just sort of starting to throw their hands in the air and saying; ‘well, it hasn't amounted to anything yet, we haven't seen the money [and] we're a bit frustrated’,” he said.
Shadow agriculture minister Joel Fitzgibbon told reporters he believes farmers should be angry.
“When Barnaby Joyce and the Prime Minister announced this money, in front of all the television cameras, they didn't talk about the difficulty in getting the money to flow,” he said.
“Farmers were right to believe that this money would be flowing quickly. That was certainly the impression the Prime Minister and the Minister gave them back in February.”
Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce says the deal is still being worked out with state governments, with more meetings planned this week.
With 80 per cent of Queensland under declared drought conditions, resolution is greatly anticipated.
Some farmers can access concessional loans through the existing Farm Finance scheme, but the new, more generous arrangements have not been offered.