PM pushes for drought resilience in the Senate
A GOOD shower is not something Prime Minister Scott Morrison can control, but he has filled the tanks until it comes.
Suffering from an unrelenting drought has been partially alleviated after the Coalition pushed the Future Drought Fund through the Senate last week.
The legislation will be implemented from July 1 next year, facilitating a $100 million a year additional investment into drought resilience and preparedness that will grow from $3.9 billion to $5 billion over the next decade.
Mr Morrison said there was always some stage that Australia was in drought, in any given year and that's why the Coalition was backing the farmers.
"What does success look like? At a supernatural level it looks like rain, but that's not something we have direct control over or any control over,” Mr Morrison said.
"Success looks like on-farm water infrastructure being supported through the programs we've put in place.
"Farmers are struggling and that's why we've put on the table around $7 billion worth of assistance.”
Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the PM's visit to the Maranoa gave him an understanding of the challenges of this drought but he had legislated a 42-day community consultation period to make sure the farmers had a say.
"I want a local solution, not a Canberra solution - it's their money after all,” Mr Littleproud said. "The community themselves will advise me what they see as worthwhile programs.”
The ALP's original hostility to the bill left Mr Morrison bemused and he said why someone would oppose the Future Drought Fund was anybody's guess.
"Despite Labor's attempts to stop the Government from establishing the Future Drought Fund, the Government has delivered on its election commitment to guarantee a sustainable source of funding for vital drought resilience projects in rural and regional communities.”