Aid for Australian farmers increased to $1 billion

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Australian Federal Government today announced an additional AU$714 million in aid to farmers affected by the drought. Prime Minister John Howard announced $430 million on September 17, bringing the total aid to over $1 billion.

Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile has said that the farming sector is important to the Australian economy. "There's about 130,000 farming units across Australia that contribute over $100 billion into our GDP - up to about 18-20 per cent of our exports in a good year," he said. "We cannot afford as a nation to lose our agricultural industries."

Opposition primary industries spokesman Kerry O'Brien has stated that if elected Labor will honour drought assistance measures put in place by the present government. "But I have given the assurance wherever I have gone that we don't see the midst of a drought as a time to undo settings in relation to Exceptional Circumstances funding, so the horticultural community can be assured they can rely on settings in place for this drought," he said.