Bill Shorten and Labor have opposed a $100 million-a-year Future Drought Fund, playing politics with the lives of farmers and rural communities.
The Future Drought Fund, which was passed by the House of Representatives despite Labor’s opposition, will deliver $100 million a year to drought preparedness, resilience and climate adaptation for farmers – a dividend from $3.9 billion set aside to keep generating that money, which will grow to $5 billion by 2028.
Labor’s new low of trying to politicise the plight of Australian farmers was aimed at shoring up support among the fracturing inner-city left, where the unionists and the Greens are drawing battle-lines.
Instead of helping rural and regional communities survive this drought and better prepare for the next one, Labor wanted to take country money and give it to the cities.
- The Future Drought Fund will deliver infrastructure projects, promote the adoption of new technology and help improve environmental and natural resource management on farms.
- It will not be used to fund existing measures already in place.The Fund will start with $3.9 billion, growing to $5 billion over the next decade.
- From July 1 2020, $100 million will be directed annually to fund a wide range of drought resilience projects, while the balance is reinvested the Fund.
- A predictable funding stream for drought resilience will enable Australia’s $60 billion agricultural industries to fulfil their potential.
- The government will develop and publish the Drought Resilience Funding Plan to ensure a transparent and consistent approach to funding drought resilience projects.
- The plan will be informed though public consultation and reviewed at least every four years to ensure it captures emerging priorities.
- The Future Drought Fund will be managed by the Future Fund Board of Guardians, which has a proven track record of managing investment portfolios on behalf of the Australian Government and maximising returns over the long-term.
- The Australian Government has also delivered more than $1.8 billion in assistance measures and concessional loans to support drought-affected farmers and communities.