House debates

Monday, 20 August 2018

Statements by Members


4:42 pm

Photo of Stuart RobertStuart Robert (Fadden, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Australia and my home state of Queensland are suffering the ravaging impacts of drought, which we know all too well. It's a terrible but recurring feature in Australia. We are indeed a land of drought and flooding rains that follow. For over 20 years, Commonwealth, state and territory governments' policy approach has been about preparedness and resilience. Since 2013, this government has invested more than $1.3 billion in delivering support for our farmers and has recently announced $1.8 billion on top.

Our farmers are tough, they're survivors, but we need to lend them a helping hand when times get tough. I'm the son of a farming family from Bundaberg—canefarmers. The Bureau of Met reports that farmers are facing harsh conditions with the situation not likely to change any time soon. We may see conditions getting even drier, heaven forbid. That's why there's new funding announced to help.

The Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources recently travelled across drought-affected parts of my home state of Queensland to listen to people on the ground, see the conditions affecting farmers and connect with communities.

The government has acted. It's increased payments from three to four years to the FHA to give farmers in drought extra support. We've announced rurally based farm liaison officers to work through the Rural Financial Counselling Service. We'll stand behind the tough and hardworking farmers of the nation. It's a difficult time. We've seen it before. We'll probably see it again, but we'll stand the whole time.