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Palaczszuk playing politics with farmers' lives.

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AFFA01/216WT 10 August 2001

Palaczszuk playing politics with farmers’ lives

The Queensland Primary Industries Minister, Henry Palaczszuk, should stop using hard-pressed Queensland farmers as political pawns, the Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss, said today.

"Mr Palaczszuk is again making false claims that the Federal Government is delaying a decision on Queensland’s application for Exceptional Circumstances (EC) for the Darling Downs," Mr Truss said.

"The Commonwealth has already demonstrated its good faith on this application by providing interim emergency relief for farmers. By contrast, the Queensland Government has done nothing for graingrowers and has actually reduced its financial commitment to Exceptional Circumstances."

Last week, the Federal Government received the independent assessment of the National Rural Advisory Council that found that the application did not meet the criteria.

"Those criteria have been agreed to by all State Ministers — including Mr Palaczszuk.

"If Mr Palaczszuk was serious about helping Queensland farmers, he would provide assistance through State Government programs.

"It is worth noting that the Queensland Government’s EC application was received in late March, without essential harvest data for the summer crop — which was not provided by the Queensland Government until June.

"The Federal Government has made it clear that any delays to the process have been caused by the Queensland Government’s tardiness.

"However, unlike Mr Palaczszuk, the Federal Government is doing something about Queensland’s drought situation.

"The Federal Government has granted six months’ emergency income support for farmers in the region and is working with industry to update the Queensland application in the hope that information on the current winter crop will meet the agreed criteria."

The Minister commended AgForce, and other industry members, for their cooperation.

"It is a pity that Mr Palaczszuk isn't following their example," he said. "While the Federal Government has made the commitment of emergency income support, the State is actually reducing its commitment to EC. After 1 July, the State's contribution to EC support will fall to less than 4 per cent of the costs of the program.

"Labor talks and complains, but fails to help."

Minister's office: Yvonne Best (02) 6277 7520 or 0418 415 772

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Last updated 10 August 2001

URL: Commonwealth of Australia 2001