Dry out­look for funds

Where have do­na­tions ended up?

Sunshine Coast Daily - - WEEKEND OPINION - Paul Mur­ray

AUS­TRALIANS have do­nated about $50 mil­lion to help fam­i­lies and farm­ers in the drought.

That num­ber is go­ing up by the day, but it’s go­ing to slow if there is not greater trans­parency about where the money is go­ing.

A few weeks ago the Fed­eral Govern­ment picked Ma­jor Gen­eral Stephen Day to be the na­tional drought co-or­di­na­tor.

It’s his job to make sure all lev­els of govern­ment are work­ing in con­junc­tion with char­i­ties to find a way through the hard­est of times.

By all re­ports he’s do­ing a good job, but I was gen­uinely shocked when he ad­mit­ted on Thurs­day he had no idea what per­cent­age of the do­na­tions was ac­tu­ally get­ting to the farm gate.

This needs to be changed, the govern­ment needs to establish a one-stop shop for do­na­tions and di­vide them up to the char­i­ties.

Govern­ment can pass on 100 per cent of the do­na­tions as they al­ready have the in­fras­truc­ture to col­lect and ad­min­is­ter funds. If they don’t, do­na­tions could start to dry up like the ground that hasn’t seen rain in a while.

We need city folk to be confident of where the money goes be­cause they want to gen­uinely help.

Fi­nally a Lib­eral has found a way to wedge Shorten

Scott Mor­ri­son has found a way to back Bill Shorten into a cor­ner – tax cuts. Af­ter fail­ing to get ones for big busi­ness, he wants to speed up the ones for small to medium busi­ness.

Rather than wait­ing eight years to go from pay­ing 27.5 per cent to 25 per cent, it will be five.

Most will get them in the next three years.

The wedge comes for Shorten be­cause he’s pre­vi­ously said he may end the full im­pact of the tax cut early, leav­ing thou­sands of busi­nesses stranded on the higher rate.

In part, he took that view be­cause the pol­icy costs billions over the years in lost rev­enue and he wanted to re­di­rect it into more spend­ing prom­ises he’s got for the elec­tion.

But the pol­i­tics is tough for the La­bor leader.

Will he say no to small and medium busi­ness?

I doubt it.

So watch this space and keep an eye out for a spring in the govern­ment’s step when they get back to Can­berra on Mon­day.

Bathurst is the race that stops the na­tion – well, mine at least

The Bathurst 1000 is my favourite sport­ing event of the year.

You can have the footy fi­nals, this is my grand fi­nal.

Again this year’s race didn’t dis­ap­point in terms of drama.

Craig Lown­des won his sev­enth, but only af­ter David Reynolds cramped up and had to leave the track.

I love mo­tor­sport be­cause it’s the fine dance be­tween risk and re­ward. Where bril­liant en­gi­neer­ing meets the hu­man el­e­ment and ev­ery­one is push­ing them­selves to the limit of their skill.

As a cul­tural event, I love go­ing be­cause it’s a cel­e­bra­tion of a largely for­got­ten peo­ple.

Av­er­age Aussies who love a laugh, a drink and do­ing what their dad did be­fore them with­out be­ing at­tacked by the iden­tity pol­i­tics war­riors who seem to frown on al­most ev­ery­thing we do these days.

It was great to see the Prime Min­is­ter show up and seem­ingly love ev­ery minute of it.

The joy on his face go­ing around the track with Mark Skaife and the smile as he watched the teams in the pits showed he was gen­uine and in­stantly got why 200,000 peo­ple were there over the week­end and a mil­lion watched it on TV. The only bad thing about Bathurst is we have to wait a year to do it all again.

Photo: VMJones

CHANGE NEEDED: City peo­ple want to help drought-stricken farm­ers, but may be­come re­luc­tant if there’s not more trans­parency around do­na­tions.

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