CONSTITUENCY QUESTION ON AGRICULTURE ENERGY INVESTMENT PLAN

My constituency question is for the Minister for Agriculture and concerns the mistreatment of farmers under the government’s $30 million Agriculture Energy Investment Plan. The scheme was introduced over a year ago.

Since then $2.6 million has been granted to six consultancy firms, while only $635 000 has been spread among 19 farmers.

Worse, the grants for farmers were only announced a week ago. It even gets worse. The process for farmers to apply and obtain a grant from this scheme is extremely onerous and bureaucratic.

Obviously grants have to be properly assessed, but this funding allocation is appalling. The reality is that a large proportion of farmers are flat out keeping their families and stock housed and fed and, unlike deskbound consultants, have limited time to expedite copious forms.

The action I seek from the minister is to ensure agricultural businesses are the beneficiaries of this scheme, not expensive consultancy businesses.

30 May 2019