State Government throws support behind rural Qld
THE Palaszczuk Government has thrown its support behind rural Queensland, with the announcement of a support package and establishment of an Office of Rural Affairs handed down in the budget.
Treasurer Curtis Pitt and Agriculture Minister Leanne Donaldson said there would also be additional grants for businesses, improved accessibility to the First Start Loans and greater funding commitments to drought assistance.
“Rural and Regional Queensland is the lifeblood of Queensland; in recognition of this, the Queensland Government is establishing an Office of Rural Affairs to ensure the necessary rural and regional information is available for government policy decision making,” Ms Donaldson said.
The updated Drought Assistance Package aims to provide $41.921 million over 2016-17, including up to $24 million for the Drought Relief Assistance Scheme and $4 million for grants under the Community Assistance Program.
“The Palaszczuk Government is focused on dealing with the legacy issues in Queensland agriculture associated with rural debt, on stimulating renewal and investing for the future,” Mr Pitt said
“The Rural Assistance Package is a whole of government response aimed at reducing financial stress and improving financial sustainability within the rural community, particularly in relation to succession and renewal within the family farming sector.”
But Member for Warrego Ann Leahy said the latest promise to rural Queensland showed a process of reallocation and recycling.
“The residents of south-west Queensland will pay increased taxes, see raids on public servants’ superannuation and see higher unemployment,” she said.