Wednesday, 26th February 2014

AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE

The prime minister this morning announced a $320 million drought assistance package.

It consists of $280 million to fund low-interest loans for farmers who've been without rain for more than a year, as well as support for targeted health initiatives, including depression and suicide risk programs, pest management and water infrastructure. This package comes in addition to earlier announcements that people in drought-affected areas will have easier access to income assistance.

Abbott denied it's a special deal for farmers. The problems of farmers are of a different nature to those affecting, for example, manufacturing: this is a natural disaster, he said, not an "ordinary part of business".  

There is no doubt the package is desperately needed by the affected farmers. Rainfall levels have been historically low.

However there is an element of wilful blindness about the government's response.

It does farmers no favours to ignore the fact that extreme weather conditions are, according to scientific evidence, likely to become an "ordinary part of business." 

Nick Feik
Politicoz Editor

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