Your View: Drought assistance

THE federal government’s drought-assistance package currently stands at $1.8billion, yet only $190million is going directly to the farmers.

The remainder is made up of low-interest loans, a fodder storage depreciation initiative and $75m going to local councils for infrastructure. The last thing farmers need is more debt and none of them have any fodder to store.

The application process to obtain this funding has been made almost impossible. One farmer said “If the drought doesn’t make us shoot ourselves the 80-page drought assistance form will”!

The form involves 259 questions over almost 80 pages must be answered to apply for two Farm Household Allowance payments of $6000. The cost to taxpayers to verify these complicated forms will also be a massive unnecessary waste of money.

All that is needed to verify a farmer in need is a statutory declaration from their bank manager and a copy of their tax return. These politicians are absolutely useless.

The Liberals gave $444m to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation — no paperwork required. Julie Bishop gave $90million to foreign aid because of a tweet from Rihanna – no paperwork required.

Last year Queensland’s Labor state government increased wages and superannuation to their public servants by $5.4b. They have only given $100,000 towards drought relief in their own state!

I totally agree with what Kym Bray said last week about needing to look after our own people first. I would be interested to know where the drought relief money has come from. In my opinion the money should be coming out of our existing foreign-aid budget.

Rebecca Hewett, Bute

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