Bob Katter has been accused of spreading misleading criticisms of the drought relief package and being too ready to attack people on the side of rural Australia.
Queensland Senator Matthew Canavan said today that Bob Katter “should pick which side he’s on”.
“Last week, Bob Katter claimed that only a small share of allocated drought funding had thus far been provided,” Senator Canavan said. (See below.*)
“In fact, the Australian Government provided $48.5 million in Farm Finance loans last year to Queensland farmers from a total available pool last year of $50 million.”
“Demand has indeed been so strong that the Australian Government released just a few weeks ago, an extra $20 million for Queensland and New South Wales.”
“Bob seems to spend more time attacking the LNP than actually trying to deliver outcomes for his constituents. He is far too ready to attack people who are on the side of rural Australia.”
“We can all disagree on what needs to be done but people like Barnaby Joyce are on his side and we are all fighting for better outcomes.”
“Our battles become harder though, when we fight each other rather than work towards common goals. That’s why Bob should pick which side he is on.”
Senator Canavan said that last year, the Australian Government allocated additional funds to Queensland in recognition that the drought was harsher there and because Queensland has more producers. The Labor Government had allocated drought funding equally among the States.
“There have been some positive developments since the election but I recognise that the viability test in particular is still causing difficulties for some. On the latest stats, around 140 farmers have been denied assistance.”
“That’s why I and others are calling for a Senate inquiry into rural debt. We need to work through ideas to help people who are falling through the cracks and build support for action to make that happen.”
“I have said before that I am happy to work with Bob or anyone else who wants to deal with the hangover that is rural debt.”
* Quote from Bob Katter release issued on 12 August 2014 titled “Rural debt, a noose around our farmer’s neck”: "Out of the $320m drought package issued by the LNP Government and the $420m issued by the ALP Government only $39.669m has been granted.”
Monday 18 August 2014