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Joyce says drought is far from over

Thursday April 17, 2014 - 14:16 EST
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Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce is encouraging farmers not to self-assess when considering drought assistance. - ABC

Less than two months after the announcement of a federal drought package, 650 farmers have had their applications for assistance approved.

Sixty applicants have been knocked back.

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce says he's aware that there are still people who need it, despite recent rains in some areas of New South Wales and Queensland.

"Even though we've had good rain, this does not mean people will have received cash flow to get their finances back into shape.

"I'm really happy that so much of the area is green and it looks like people will be able to get a wheat crop in, but the wheat crop is not going to be harvested until near Christmas, and the money won't turn up until after Christmas."

Mr Joyce says it is important to remember that some areas in need of rain haven't received it.

"It goes in a belt between Bourke and probably the New England region and up into Queensland to Longreach, where they're missing out on rain; places where you have to outlay large amounts of money to get a crop in.

"There are extensive expenses, and no cash flow to mitigate against that."

Mr Joyce says farmers should not self-assess their eligibility for assistance.

"They should not decide that they're not eligible to get money.

"We've only rejected about 60 applications thus far.

"It's an uncapped scheme, so as much as there's a requirement, we will provide the money for it."


© ABC 2014

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