Labor slams door on drought-stricken farmers

Sunday 9 August, 2020

The Palaszczuk Labor Government is slamming the door on desperate farmers by closing or cutting the opening hours at 18 regional Department of Agriculture and Fisheries offices.

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said the DAF offices provide farmers with vital face-to-face help when applying for drought assistance or seeking advice on complex biosecurity issues.

An internal document leaked by public servants states that the covid crisis has given DAF a ‘unique opportunity’ to review its ‘service delivery model’ – by slashing support for farmers.

“At a time when drought-stricken farmers are looking for more assistance from the government, Labor is slashing their services after a secret review,” Ms Frecklington said.

“This is clearly a cost-cutting exercise because Annastacia Palaszczuk has lost control of the state’s finances and our debt is surging towards $100 billion.

“With two-thirds of Queensland in drought it is disgraceful that Labor is using covid as an excuse to slash services to the bush.”

The cuts will hit offices in:

Bundaberg, Mackay, Boonah, Charleville, Charters Towers, Cloncurry, Dalby, Emerald, Gayndah, Goondiwindi, Gympie, Longreach, Maryborough, Roma, Hermitage, Kingaroy, Mareeba and Maroochy.

Staff have been instructed to tell angry farmers that their services will be replicated through a help hotline and ‘digital service delivery’.

“Everyone in regional areas who has experienced the loss of banking and postal services through a ‘digital transition’ knows this means less services,” Ms Frecklington said.

“I’m calling on Annastacia Palaszczuk to stop these cruel regional service cuts.

“Unlike Labor, an LNP Government I lead will back our farmers and supercharge the regions.

“The LNP’s plan for more dams and water price cuts will help farmers produce the food and fibre we need to become more self-sufficient and create a decade of secure jobs.”