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Opposition flags changes to farm finance package

Caitlyn Gribbin, Friday July 12, 2013 - 12:55 EST

Federal Shadow Agriculture Minister John Cobb says he'd want to change parts of the Farm Finance package if the Coalition is elected to government.

Queensland and Victoria have now both signed up to the Federal Government's Farm Finance package.

The agreement means struggling farmers can apply for concessional loans of up to $650,000.

Mr Cobb says it's not fair that each state and territory, irrespective of size, has access to the same amount of money - $60 million over two years.

"Quite obviously, that is an area that has to be looked at," Mr Cobb said.

"I think we need to obviously look at what is needed across Australia, rather than do it state-by-state.

"That is something we'd have to look at in government."

Mr Cobb says the plan doesn't go far enough to help struggling farmers, particularly graziers in northern Australia who aren't live exporting as many live cattle to Indonesia as previous years.

He says Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's recent visit to Indonesia hasn't given relief to cattle producers.

"I don't think he did anything about cattle during that visit ... Kevin Rudd did not achieve anything for the cattle industry while he was in Indonesia."

But Mr Cobb says he's encouraged by this week's launch of an Anti-Dumping Commission to help deal with the spike in complaints about imported goods being sold in Australia at below cost price.

The Federal Government has set up the agency to deal with complaints from the food, steel, aluminium and timber sectors, which all say dumping is undercutting local industry.

"At the end of 2011, the Opposition put together a progress paper for anti-dumping measures, some of which the government actually adopted, and we supported the adoption.

"We will progress anti-dumping measures to make it quicker, cheaper and far more accessible for companies to deal with."


© ABC 2013

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