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Gillard abandons farmers for fame

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John Cobb, MP 

Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Food Security  Member for Calare 


Gillard Abandons Farmers for Fame

Thursday, December 16, 2010

After inspecting more flood and rain damaged crops in the Dubbo region with National’s Leader Warren Truss and Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton, the Shadow Minister for Agriculture, John Cobb, said today he was disgusted by the Labor Government’s lack of interest in the devastation to the grain harvest in the Eastern States.

“Two weeks ago I warned of the probable and possible financial devastation to the eastern Australian cropping belt. Despite falls of over 200mm since that time there has been no response of any kind, let alone reassurance by the Prime Minister, her deputy or the Agriculture Minister that they were on the case.

“Gillard and her Labor Independents have shown their new found concern for rural and regional Australia is only skin deep. The biggest issue in mainland Australia - the devastation of the eastern grain crop, is not as important as a photo opportunity with foreign celebrity, Oprah Winfrey.

“Former Prime Minister, John Howard would never have left rural Australia out in the cold.

“It is now apparent that large areas, particularly in the north, will not be harvested at all and Exceptional Circumstances (EC) alone will not be able to deal with this.

“Gillard and Ludwig need to firstly dirty their boots to show they actually care and then install a one off program to ensure these producers will be able to put next year’s crop in the ground.

“Given the extent of the flood and rain damage so far, the Government must immediately look towards extending EC in areas which are set to lose it on 31st March 2011,” Mr Cobb said

“The Government must also look towards reinstating EC in areas within the Eastern States where it has already ceased, for areas which have experienced crop losses proving to be unsustainable.”

After witnessing first hand the devastation in regional NSW, Mr Cobb said farmers and rural communities are desperate for the Government to reveal what forms of assistance and relief will be available.

“The Coalition developed EC during their time in Government, continually adapting the guidelines to ensure the necessary support for farmers as each new situation develops. EC is a practical measure which provides relief for farmers as each farm is looked at on an individual basis.

“Labor needs to update it guidelines so those coming out of drought and now hit by flood can continue to receive vital support.

“EC is an interim measure which the Government must introduce, yet in consultation with farmers and community leaders they must introduce additional measures to ensure next years grain harvest is not impacted by the financial devastation by ruined crops this year,” Mr Cobb said.

Contact: Richard Hyett - 0487 250 005