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LNP says 'genuine and generous response' needed to rural debt

The LNP today called for a “genuine and generous response” from the Palaszczuk Labor Government despite the lack of agreement from the Rural Debt and Drought Taskforce on recommendations. Deputy Opposition Leader and taskforce member Deb Frecklington said the Premier and the Treasurer needed to deliver immediate and ongoing support in the upcoming Budget as farmers and regional communities faced their fourth and fifth year of drought from yet another failed wet season, with no cash flow and little hope on the horizon. “The response needs to be genuine and generous,” Ms Frecklington said.

 

“After years of drought and little to no cash-flow farmers can’t handle more debt so more loans aren’t the answer.  What they desperately need is better targeted support measures to help with immediate outgoings, and this should happen quickly.”

 

Ms Frecklington said the Premier and Treasurer needed to look beyond the failure of the taskforce to reach consensus, highlighted by the fact the report was released by the Chairman not the committee. 

 

“While there was no consensus on big-ticket items such as a reconstruction bank and a Royal Commission, there was agreement that the asset criteria for access to Federal farm household payments should be eased, that access to QRAA-managed loans should be easier,” she said.

 

“There was also agreement for more financial literacy programs.”

 

Ms Frecklington said at regional hearings, many landholders told the taskforce of difficulties in paying ‘outgoings’ - electricity and land rent bills and also of the fear of the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s plan to dismantle the LNP’s vegetation management framework.

 

“If Labor is fair dinkum about the taskforce, the Premier needs to deliver more support for drought-hit regional Queensland where everyone is fed up with token listening tours and hearing about record cattle prices when for most, the stock had left long ago,” she said.

 

“Establishing a reconstruction bank will take time and Premier Palaszczuk and her Treasurer need to deliver immediate genuine relief measures to help with farm and rural business costs.”

 

Key facts:

  • Rural Debt and Reconstruction Taskforce established in October 2015 by Treasurer Curtis Pitt.

  • 10-member cross-party and stakeholder taskforce chaired by the Member for Mount Isa Rob Katter.

  • Chairman’s report made 14 recommendations, including the creation of a Rural Industries bank.

     

  • Rural Reconstruction and Debt Taskforce report released as ‘Chairman’s Report’ – no consensus from committee

  • No agreement on ‘reconstruction bank’ or Royal Commission, but clearly more aid needed

  • Many areas of Queensland facing fourth and fifth year of little to no rain as wet season fails again

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