Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Farmers will be unable to access crucial low interest loans from the Labor Government-managed Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority after funding ceased three months early.
The QRIDA sustainability and first-start loans support farmers looking to restructure and renew their businesses and are meant to be offered until the end of the financial year.
In a response to questioning in Parliament today, Annastacia Palaszczuk had no idea about the issue and failed to commit to replenishing the fund to ensure farmers could access the financial support.
Liberal National Party Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Tony Perrett said it was alarming the Premier was unaware of the issue and that Labor was failing to offer the important loans.
“Farmers were looking to rebuild and reset after the recent rains but Labor is abandoning them,” said Mr Perrett.
“Many in the agriculture sector are desperate to recover and it’s clear there is a high demand in Queensland for these loans.
“Given the coronavirus threat to jobs and Queensland’s economy, withdrawing financial support early at this critical time is a heartless act by Labor.
“If Annastacia Palaszczuk and Labor are serious about supporting our farmers they should immediately make more funds available.
“This is on top of Labor cutting $50 million worth of subsidies used by farmers in droughts to feed their starving livestock from 1 July 2020.
“Farmers continue to try and manage the long-term impacts of devastating drought and need more support, not less.
“On behalf of Queensland’s farmers, the LNP is calling on Annastacia Palaszczuk to replenish funding for QRIDA loans and support our farmers.”