Drought Roundtable – A Good Step

Ag Force has congratulated Agriculture Minister David Littleproud for starting the process with the staging of the drought discussions with industry this week.

AgForce General President Grant Maudsley says the roundtable meeting in Canberra has been a constructive step towards the development of an enduring policy that assists farmers to prepare for, manage and recover from drought.

The roundtable was chaired by Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud and attended by the National Farmers’ Federation, state farming organisations and banking representatives.

MR Maudsley says with more than half of Queensland still drought declared, many farmers were hurting and the prolonged nature of the drought had taken an enormous toll on regional communities.

“The roundtable meeting was the next step in the process following the Prime Minister’s recent visit to drought affected areas in western Queensland, and the subsequent announcement of an extension of the Farm Household Allowance from three to four years.”

“Afforce welcomes the opportunity to be part of the roundtable and present ideas on behalf of Queensland primary producers. There were some very constructive conversations at this week’s meeting and it’s clear that collaboration between governments at all levels, the financial sector and primary producers will be the key to developing an enduring drought policy.”

Mr Maudsley says he’s pleased with the Minister’s willingness to engage further on AgForce’s ‘Agricultural Business Cycle’ concept, which aims to empower producers and improve policy settings to minimise the social, environmental and financial effects of drought.

“The cycle promotes preparedness, mutual obligations and building business resilience and observes the effects of drought beyond the event itself. It is intended to enable producers to take back ownership of risk management, preparedness and accessing the type of assistance we need when we need it while managing drought.”

Other discussions at the meeting centred around the need for banks to offer offset accounts for Farm Management Deposits, improving financial literacy and the removal of stamp duty on multi-peril crop insurance.

Mr Maudsley says the Minister flagged a number of investigations that are underway

“We look forward to further announcements and continuing collaboration in coming weeks and months.”