Drought fund will help farm­ers in to the fu­ture: Min­is­ter

Mansfield Courier - - Property Guide -

FED­ERAL Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture and Na­tion­als Se­na­tor for Vic­to­ria, Brid­get McKen­zie, be­lieves last week’s pas­sage of the Fu­ture Drought Fund Bill 2019, will de­liver for farm­ers.

“It took longer than it should have, but the 46th Par­lia­ment fi­nally did the right thing and sup­ported the Fu­ture Drought Fund,” said Min­is­ter McKen­zie, the Deputy Leader of The Na­tion­als.

“We are a gov­ern­ment that be­lieves in sup­port­ing the pro­duc­tive ca­pac­ity of Aus­tralian agri­cul­ture, and we can only do this by build­ing re­silience to the in­evitable droughts.

“The Fu­ture Drought Fund will give our farm­ers tools to pre­pare for, man­age and sus­tain their busi­nesses through drought.

“From 2020–21, $100 mil­lion will be in­vested an­nu­ally in projects to sup­port farm­ers and com­mu­ni­ties, through in­fras­truc­ture projects, adop­tion of new tech­nol­ogy, im­prove en­vi­ron­men­tal and nat­u­ral re­source man­age­ment on farms.

“The gov­ern­ment has seen the im­pact of the cur­rent drought on farm­ers and com­mu­ni­ties, and has acted to guar­an­tee a long-term revenue stream to build drought re­silience.

“We know this drought won’t be the last, which is why we are se­cur­ing the fu­ture of drought af­fected com­mu­ni­ties.

“It is a key part of back­ing Aus­tralian agri­cul­ture to grow to $100 bil­lion by 2030.

“For all of the pos­tur­ing from elected lead­ers about the need to sup­port drought-af­fected farm­ers, only our gov­ern­ment steps up when it counts.”

The $5 bil­lion Fu­ture Drought Fund means $100 mil­lion ev­ery year will be in­vested in drought re­silience and pre­pared­ness.

This is on top of the $1.9 bil­lion the gov­ern­ment has al­ready in­vested in projects such as Farm House­hold Al­lowance, Ru­ral Fi­nan­cial Coun­selling, men­tal health fund­ing and low in­ter­est loans.

Min­is­ter for Drought and Ru­ral Fi­nance, David Lit­tleproud, said a con­sul­ta­tive com­mit­tee would soon be formed to de­cide how the $100 mil­lion was in­vested, as per the leg­is­la­tion.

“We’re go­ing to ac­tu­ally con­sult with the peo­ple we’re elected to serve on how this in­vest­ment should be spent – what a crazy idea,” he said.

“Aus­tralian drought pol­icy now has a cen­tre­piece and a guar­an­teed in­vest­ment of $100 mil­lion a year that no min­is­ter can take away.”

PHOTO: Jar­rah Loh

LET IT RAIN: Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture Brid­get McKen­zie, pic­tured in Mans­field, last week wel­comed the pas­sage of the Fu­ture Drought Fund Bill.

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