Media Release: Government is Loose with the Truth on Drought Funding
10.00am | October 25, 2019
THE HON JOEL FITZGIBBON MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND RESOURCES
MEMBER FOR HUNTER
SENATOR JENNY MCALLISTER
SHADOW CABINET SECRETARY
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER TO THE LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
GOVERNMENT IS LOOSE WITH THE TRUTH ON DROUGHT FUNDING
The Government has confirmed that on-the-ground drought assistance for farmers over the next four years is just $2.6 billion.
The figures were confirmed by Department of Finance officials who ran through the elements of the program for the period 2018-19 to 2022-2023. The figure stands in stark contrast to the claims by the Prime Minister and his Ministers that the package totals over $7 billion.
The truth is that expenditure in drought affected areas is limited to $2.6 billion over the next four years, with $1 billion of that number provided as concessional loans.
Meanwhile the Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie, under questioning from Labor’s Senator Murray Watt, doubled-down on the Government’s story that it was spending $7 billion on the drought.
Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Joel Fitzgibbon, said Senate estimates had further exposed the Government’s exaggerated spending claims.
“The government has been loose with the truth on drought funding and farming families know it. Sadly, rather than concede it’s been misleading famers and rural communities, Government Ministers have been doubling-down and offering false hope for struggling rural families.”
Shadow Cabinet Secretary, Senator Jenny McAllister said it is clear that over the next four years, less than one third of the funding promised by the government for drought relief will be spent.
“The Department of Finance is being honest about how much the Government is actually spending on drought relief and it is time for the Prime Minister to do the same.
“Our rural communities, farmers, families and businesses deserve more than spin from the Prime Minister.”
MEDIA CONTACT (FITZGIBBON): MARK ABERNETHY – 0438 986 641
MEDIA CONTACT (MCALLISTER): LEILA STENNETT 0436 632 388