Flood recovery scheme 'top priority' for federal government

Flood recovery scheme 'top priority' for federal government


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Michael McCormack with Tisha Sheahan, Tweedsmuir Station, near Richmond, Queensland.

Michael McCormack with Tisha Sheahan, Tweedsmuir Station, near Richmond, Queensland.

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Long term assistance to rebuild NW QLD cattle industry is the focus of a new Cabinet taskforce.

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The federal government is working to form a comprehensive flood recovery plan for the North West Queensland cattle industry.

Deputy PM and Nationals Leader Michael McCormack said the region’s cattle industry had a good bright future and government would support it to rebuild.

“Its early days, but we will make announcements soon” Mr McCormack said.

"The cattle industry doesn’t look bleak in North QLD. It is North QLD.

“The question is, how do we help with reconstruct and get farmers back on their feet? That includes everything fro restocking to mental health.”

Mr McCormack said there would be "no politicking" over the flood recovery plan between the federal Coalition and QLD Labor governments. 

Mr McCormack and Prime Minister Scott Morrison toured the flood ravaged region on the weekend.

A Cabinet taskforce has been asked to consider a federal recovery scheme.

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Scott Morrison told parliament this week QLD flood recovery was the government’s top priority, and that he was considering a flood recovery scheme for the North West Queensland cattle industry brought by Kennedy MP Bob Katter.

Mr Katter wants the government to buy up pastoralists' existing bank debts and charge them discounted interest rates.

Loans would be restructured via the Regional Investment Corporation, which offers loans at 2.5 per cent interest.

Mr Katter believes the banks would likely agree to sell their loans at 30pc for two reasons.

Firstly, banks need a publicity boost after damning misconduct findings from the banking Royal Commission.

Also, many producers don’t have the capacity to meet their current repayments.

Australian Defence Force personnel on the ground in Quensland with Richmond Shire Mayor John Wharton, Deputy PM Michael McCormack, LNP Candidate for Kennedy Frank Beveridge and Resources Minister Matt Canavan.

Australian Defence Force personnel on the ground in Quensland with Richmond Shire Mayor John Wharton, Deputy PM Michael McCormack, LNP Candidate for Kennedy Frank Beveridge and Resources Minister Matt Canavan.

Mr Katter threatened he would withdraw his vote from the government in the last remaining sitting days before the federal election his scheme wasn’t supported.

“I’ve got a very short fuse. People tell me I’m crazy and I wouldn’t deny that. I could do anything,” he said.

Mr Morrison told parliament this week he thanked Mr Katter for working with government on the issue, and that he would have more to say about it as the week progressed.

Mr McCormack said the flood-hit landscape and impacted graziers he met in QLD left a lasting impression.

“It’s rather confronting when you get in a helicopter, a long way off the ground, and you can smell the stench of the dead cattle.

“I can’t even imagine what it is to the farmers, who love those big Brahman beasts.”

The PM has announced $100 million funding to support the immediate recovery effort, and Mr McCormack said he was assessing funding for a new weather radar to improve the Bureau of Meteorology services around Richmond, Hughenden and Georgetown.

The story Flood recovery scheme 'top priority' for federal government first appeared on Farm Online.

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