Drought fund will help farmers in to the future: Minister
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.”
LET IT RAIN: Minister for Agriculture Bridget McKenzie, pictured in Mansfield, last week welcomed the passage of the Future Drought Fund Bill.