Premier heads west to show faith in region
PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk's visit to the Roma Saleyards was gatecrashed by LNP senator Matt Canavan this morning.
The premier was in town with agricultural industry development minister Mark Furner to announce the establishment of an office in Roma to assist graziers facing financial hardship.
"It's great to meet with locals to see that the industry is going well,” the premier said.
"However, we recognise that our farmers have been doing it tough, especially with drought conditions.
"And that is why my government is determined to do as much as possible to help.”
Ms Palaszczuk said the Farm Debt Restructure Office was the Government's latest initiative in the ongoing commitment to the agricultural sector and the issue of rural debt delivering a number of protections for Queensland farmers.
"We're looking at opening a farm reduction debt office here in Roma, to offer farmers and graziers low and no interest loans to help with the circumstances they are facing at the moment.”
The office will be overseen by the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority and will work with its nine offices across the state, including the office here in Roma.
Ag minister Mark Furner said the assistance doesn't replace a producer's existing financial providers or advisors, but complements them by offering an alternate opinion.
"(It) offers eligible farmers detailed, expert options from an approved rural finance professional at a level that the producer may not be able to afford at their time of distress,” he said.
Senator Matt Canavan's unexpected arrival on the saleyard walkway did nothing to deter the premier's announcement.
"That wasn't part of the agenda,” Senator Canavan said.
"I didn't realise and we don't coordinate our diaries, but I've said g'day and I'm sure she's a busy lady.”
Senator Canavan said he was in the area with Member for Callide Colin Boyce, to meet with graziers concerned about a proposal for carbon sequestration near Wandoan.
When probed about vegetation management laws, Ms Palaszczuk said Labor would be honouring their election commitment.
Labor said it would reintroduce its vegetation management laws if it won last year's election, but would dump the controversial reverse onus of proof, which would have compelled graziers to prove they were innocent.
"Let's just make it very clear that everyone knows our election commitment and we are honouring those commitments,” she said.
"And of course through the committee process there will be ample opportunity for people to have their say and we will not be bypassing that process.”
Maranoa mayor Tyson Golder said he appreciated the support the state government had provided to the region.
"We're looking forward to working with your government this term for the betterment of everyone in the Maranoa, and we thank you very much for coming,” he said.
For more information on eligibility and how to apply for Farm Business Analysis Assistance through the Farm Debt Restructure Office, primary producers can visit www.qrida.qld.gov.au/fdro or free call 1800 623 946 and ask to speak to the Farm Debt Restructure Office.