Federal drought package not far off

The Federal Agriculture Minister says the ongoing uncertainty in the seat of Fairfax is delaying a national drought policy.

Clive Palmer maintains a slim lead in the final recount for the, as yet, undecided Queensland seat.

Minister Barnaby Joyce says he plans to take a drought package proposal to Cabinet when Federal Parliament sits on November 12. He says Parliament can’t sit until all seats are decided.

“One of the reasons that this has been held up is because of what’s happening in the seat of Fairfax. They haven’t declared the poll in Fairfax. I know a lot of people are frustrated,” said Mr Joyce.

“I’m looking at the current policy settings that we’ve got, and how we adjust them in a better form.

“I’m looking at something that leaves a form of a legacy after the drought, so, when the drought is over, people are left in a better form than they were before.

“As soon as we get back (to Parliament), we can start walking some of these policy issues through.”

Mr Joyce has travelled to the Northern Territory and Queensland to assess conditions and will soon tour drought-affected regions in north-west New South Wales.

“What we’re trying to do is come up with a package that will work in with the state governments.

“The provider is predominantly the state governments, supported by the Federal Government.”

Mr Joyce says it’s too early to say if drought relief payments will form part of the package.

“If you start saying what’s in the package, that’s not a good way to try to get your colleagues onside.

“But, quite obviously, we have to make sure we’ve got a form of support for people at the house.”

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