Feb 11, 2019

Media Release – A Shorten Government will fund drought resilience and infrastructure – Tuesday, 11 February 2019

A Shorten Labor Government will help farmers build defences to drought, lift productivity and secure sustainable profitability while also funding nation building road and rail infrastructure.

Labor’s Caucus meeting tonight resolved to vote against the Morrison Government’s raid on the $3.9 billion held in the Building Australia Fund to pay for its belated Future Drought Fund.
After more than five years of inaction on the drought resilience front, the Government has come to the party but says only at the expense of important road and rail projects, many of which will benefit our farmers and regional communities.

Labor will spend the same amount of money as the Government plans to spend but without cutting road and rail investment.  And we’ll invest in resilience sooner and more effectively.
The more you look at the Government’s Future Drought Fund the more it looks like another National Party slush fund.

The Senate scrutiny of Bills Committee has expressed concern about a lack of Parliamentary accountability and the extent of the Minister’s “broad powers” to spend without process.

Labor’s Farm Productivity and Sustainable Profitability Plan will be developed by an expert panel including scientists, economists, research bodies and farm industry leaders. The Panel of Guardians will be in place within 60 days following an election and will report to Government within 12 months.

Labor’s Plan will be funded on-Budget: $100 million each year, the same amount of money the Morrison Government proposes to draw from its Future Drought Fund, no tricks, no spin, just real money.

But Labor’s strategy will be science and evidence based rather than conjured up in the Nationals Party Room.