Dealing with drought will be a major focus of the Queensland Farmers' Federation in the coming year.
Dealing with drought will be a major focus of the Queensland Farmers' Federation in the coming year. Daniel Burdon

Report finds govt does not go far enough for farmers

A LACK of clear government policy around drought management and ineffective relief packages have been criticised by the Queensland Farmers' Federation.

Chief executive officer Dan Galligan said securing a sensible approach to dealing with drought would be a major focus of the group in the coming year.

"With the 2008 drought reform process stalled, drought-stricken farmers have this year been exposed to the lack of clear policy direction around drought - a scenario that QFF and others had continued to warn successive governments against since the review process first began," he stated in the QFF 2013-14 annual report.

Relief packages including five-year, low-interest loans of up to $1 million were welcomed, but Mr Galligan said they did not go far enough.

"It has been speculated in the media that $100 million could be available for Queensland, although the Federal Government is looking to avoid a 'lines on maps' approach," he said.

"With the maximum loan amount up to $1 million for individual primary producers, this could mean only a few hundred farmers receive the loan in Queensland.

"It would also be of limited use for farmers who have kept their debt low.

"The new loan scheme will be subject to a 'viability test' and industry questions the precise definition of this standard."

Mr Galligan said the five-year loan term was too short to allow drought-affected farmers to truly regain their financial footing.

"It must be remembered that the greatest part of the package is a loan - meaning the government will recoup its money," he said.

-APN NEWSDESK


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