A roundtable meeting in Canberra was a constructive step towards the development of an enduring policy that assists farmers to prepare for, manage and recover from drought, AgForce Queensland Farmers said.
The drought roundtable was chaired by Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud and attended by the National Farmers’ Federation, state farming organisations and banking representatives.
AgForce General President Grant Maudsley said 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,” he said.
“AgForce welcomed 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 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 welcomed 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,” he said.
“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.”
Mr Maudsley said other discussions 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.
“The Minister has flagged a number of investigations are underway and we look forward to further announcements and continuing collaboration in coming weeks and months,” he said.