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Wednesday, 26 June 2013
Page: 7189


Mr TEHAN (Wannon) (09:57): I rise today to ask the question: can the Treasurer demonstrate his incompetence in greater fashion than he already has? As we have seen already, we have got a mining tax which has not delivered any revenue. We had a budget surplus promised on 300 occasions, but what did we get? We got a budget deficit and, when you add that budget deficit to the four that have gone previously, they are the five largest budget deficits in Australia's history. The Treasurer said he was going to deal with the inflation problem, the genie that had got out of the bottle, and when he was asked what the inflation rate was, he said, 'Who's got my chart?'

And what do we have now? The Treasurer has done a media conference and said that he is going to fix the issues in regional and rural Australia when it comes to farm debt, that he is going to put in place a farm finance package. He did the media on it and set up the glossy brochures on the website saying how this problem will be fixed. These glossy brochures say that the Australian government is committing up to $30 million each year for the next two years to each state and to the Northern Territory to provide concessional loans to farmers in need—concessional loans to give farmers the breathing space to focus on growing and improving their farm businesses. The Australian government will work with state and Northern Territory governments to make these loan products available across the country via appropriate delivery agencies.

There are glossy brochures up on the website, but what has been done? Nothing. We were promised that this package would be ready to be rolled out on 1 July, yet it is not ready to be rolled out. I am passionate about this because there are farmers in real need of this money. They are banking on this money. The government has led them down a path to say that this money will be available to them, and yet on 1 July they are going to see nothing, because this Treasurer is incompetent—absolutely incompetent. He has promised that he would deliver this for these farmers across this country, yet he has not sat down with the state and territory governments; he has not delivered this package. He has given false hope to these farmers and done nothing about it. Get off your backside, Treasurer, and negotiate with the states and the Northern Territory and get this Farm Finance package rolled out.