Mr PERRETT (Gympie—LNP) (11.24 am): I rise to speak on this motion. In doing so, I note an interest in this issue. I have lodged an individually droughted property declaration for my property.
Pursuant to the standing orders, I declare that before this House so that there is no ambiguity.
Drought is something that needs to be handled by all levels of government. It disappoints me today to see politics being played when it comes to this issue. I welcome the federal government’s commitment of $5 billion. We need to remember that in the past there was never anything put in place by previous Labor governments. The $5 billion commitment to the Future Drought Fund is important when it comes to the management of drought across the state.
What disappoints me is the situation we see in this state where the minister has pulled funding and changed the arrangements with no announcement of what is going to happen in the future. He promised to work with industry groups. This House has heard nothing about the progress of those discussions. All the while, we see drought starting to take a grip on additional areas across the state.
Minister, you know that I have written to you.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Kelly): Direct your comments through the chair.
Mr PERRETT: I have written to the minister recently about the electorate that I represent, and particularly the worsening conditions in that area. There has been no response back from the minister with respect to my call for the local drought committee—presumably it still exists—to consider my request.
The issues that farmers face across this state are broad. Given the continuing drought across this state—the member for Gregory will probably touch on this; seven years of continuous drought— there is the need for support from all levels of government. I acknowledge the hard work that has been done by the federal government, particularly with regard to the household income support that has been provided. That puts food on people’s tables and was never provided by federal Labor governments in the past. It was a difficult thing to get them to understand.
The state cannot abrogate its responsibilities in and around these issues. I call on the Premier to work with everyone. She is calling on the federal government to do the heavy lifting, but the state also needs to do some heavy lifting and announce the new measures it is going to put in place.
Ms Palaszczuk interjected.
Mr PERRETT: Premier, you have removed the freight subsidies. Anyone who applies for that now is not eligible. What is going to be put in place in terms of drought subsidies, Premier? You tell us. You tell this House.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Direct your comments through the chair, member for Gympie.
Mr PERRETT: Perhaps when the minister for agriculture gets up to speak he will tell this House what new measures are going to be put in place to replace what has been axed or pulled. Farmers are hurting and if we do not get this right we will have serious issues.