Farmers hope for help hits another loan
“You just have to shake your head and wonder – are they actually listening and learning?” says Member for Barwon, Roy Butler on reading about the NSW Government pushing farmers towards another loan scheme for drought recovery.
“For over 12 months now, I have been talking about the need for cash based drought assistance, and the need for a cash based re-sowing and re-stocking grant.
“I have used every avenue available to me to get the Government to listen to what the farmers are telling me – loans are not the answer to our calls for help.
“I have been pushing for a re-sowing and re-stocking grant for months now to give agriculture the kick start it needed to get back going.
“The Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party developed a policy last year on how this would work, we engaged with the Government on it. They sat, waited, and did nothing.
“Now in July, we see them use our language of re-sowing and re-stocking, void of the understanding of what our farmer’s needs, or where their recovery is even up too.
“To the NSW Government I say the bull has already bolted. Our farmers have dug deep; they have found the money and sunk the funds – the crop is in the ground. Now here comes the Government with another loan offering.
“You really have to wonder what they’re playing at – is a certain by-election playing its part?
“The Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party’s policy, developed in partnership with farmers recognises that agriculture in NSW is a $13 billion industry that is one of the least subsidised in the world, and importantly it recognises that after years of drought loans are unattainable for many farmers.
“Importantly, considering many of our farmers have re-stocked, and sown crops, it would allow farmers to recoup the funds they’ve already sunk into recovery.
“Many farmers have been forced into low document loans, debt traps by any other name, 12% through to 18% interest. If we want a viable and locally owned agriculture sector Government can’t be negligently opening doors to debt traps.
“I don’t announce programs with big headline catching dollar values that’s not my gig. I develop and advocate for common sense policies that actually take into consideration the people they’re supposed to help, perhaps the NSW Government should try it.”