Queensland Farmers Hung Out To Dry

The Governments Farm Finance Concessional Loan program is bogged down in bureaucratic delays, and is completely failing to deliver assistance to Queensland farmers.

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Climate Change Division has admitted, in answers to questions on notice from Senate Estimates Hearings which have just been released, that as of August 2013 the Concessional Loans that were announced in April with great fanfare are still not available..

Coalition spokesman for Northern and Remote Australia, Queensland Senator Ian Macdonald asked a series of questions at Estimates hearings in May that brought to light the fact that the Federal Government had not made the loans available at all by early August, despite receiving over 100 applications for assistance.

The application process in Queensland didnt even open until Friday last week, and the department wont even look at any Queensland applications until November he said.

It is just cruel to put Queensland farmers in a position where they dont even know if the assistance they are asking for is going to be available, he said.

It was recently reported that the first applications in Victoria had been approved, however the Rural Finance website paints a different picture.

According to information gathered on the Farm Finance website yesterday, 102 applications have been received for concessional loans, but none have been approved. This is in contrast to the answer received from the Department that the loans are not available, and that applications are not open in any jurisdiction.

The Labor partys overwhelming lack of interest in the agricultural sector is on full display today. Weve got farmers who are facing ruin, and a government responding like this as a low priority.

This is in fact a national economic emergency. The problem weve got is that the people handling it have amply demonstrated that they have no idea whats required.

Queenslands farmers and Queenslands rural communities deserve better.

Only a Coalition government can restore hope, reward and opportunity to the people of Queensland.

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