December 4, 2013
The Tasmanian Agriculture Minister must explain why he is standing in the way of Tasmanian farmers receiving financial assistance given he backed the deal under the former Labor Government.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, said Bryan Green was penalising Tasmanian farmers by blocking access to much-needed farm finance concessional loans.
Senator Colbeck said Mr Green needed to remember that assistance is directed to farmers in difficulty.
"The package is on the table and ready to go. The funds could start being rolled out to farmers if Mr Green would stop playing games and start focussing on the needs of Tasmanian farmers," he said.
"Mr Green was happy to sign up under a Labor Government, but has now started playing political games in a cheap attempt at scoring a headline."
"Every day that Mr Green blocks access to the funds is another day Tasmanian farmers in financial hardship have to wait to access much needed funds."
Senator Colbeck said the Coalition's $30 million farm finance offer, which will provide much needed assistance to Tasmanian farmers, was on the table ready for Mr Green to accept.
"Every other jurisdiction has already signed on but Mr Green is playing political games and the losers are Tasmanian farmers," Senator Colbeck said.
Senator Colbeck said the Coalition was committed to keeping the package available for farmers having difficulty with finance.
He urged the Tasmanian Government to sign on and make the assistance available to Tasmanian farmers.
South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory have now signed on to receive the farm finance package and will start rolling out the loans in the coming weeks.
Tasmania will receive $15 million for each of 2013-14 and 2014-15.
There is also a $40 million reserve of funds for 2014-15 which will be allocated to areas of greatest need should conditions change.