Queensland drought loans in waiting

RACHAEL SCHUMACHER

Over 80% of Queensland is now drought declared. Photo: Julie Schumacher

Over 80% of Queensland is now drought declared. Source: Julie Schumacher

Drought and Drought Recovery Concessional Loans for Queensland are stuck in administration fee negotiations.

With over 80% of the state drought declared, farm businesses are waiting for this cycle’s concessional loans to open for application.

Senior Policy Adviser for AgForce Mr Dale Miller says the delay is centered around who will foot the administrative costs.

“Both the Federal and State Government are currently negotiating [about] who bears that cost and that is what the main reason for the delay has been,” Mr Miller said.

“Financial pressure on farmers has been acute with the current drought and the availability of Concessional Drought Loans is important to provide them with some relief with ongoing costs.”

A spokesperson for Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and Minister for Sport and Racing Bill Byrne’s office says it will cost $1.925 million for Queensland Rural Adjustment Authority to administer new loans up to $55 million.

“The Queensland Government is acutely aware of the urgent need to make the new round of funding available,” a spokesperson said.

$45 million in new lending will be administered by State Government using funds Federal Government has already agreed to fund.

“The Queensland Government is not in a position to outlay any further funding to subsidies administration costs.”

“Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne has written to Federal Minister Barnaby Joyce emphasising he wants to see the schemes open to application as soon as possible.”

Earlier in May, $250 million was announced by the Federal Government to continue contributions to concessional loans to assist in drought relief and recovery nationally.

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