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Tasmania accused of playing politics over loans scheme

Jane Ryan, Friday December 6, 2013 - 10:37 EDT
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Tasmania was in drought in 2011, but is not in line to receive assistance under the new Farm Finance package. - ABC

The Federal Coalition says Tasmanian Agriculture Minister Bryan Green is having a hissy fit over the Farm Finance package on offer.

Tasmania is the only state not to sign up to the concessional loans package which is aimed at helping farmers in need.

The Coalition halved the previous government's pledge of $30 million to Tasmania and reallocated the funds to other states suffering drought.

Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture Richard Colbeck said the Coalition reduced the amount on offer to Tasmania because the money should be allocated according to need, not just on a state by state basis.

He says as the only state yet to sign on to the deal, Tasmania's farmers are missing out on much-needed funds.

"Yes, we have made some adjustments to it, based on need and balancing out the payments," he said.

"But Tasmania still does pretty well out of the deal, because with 3 per cent of the farms in the country, we still get 7 per cent of the finance," he said.

"There is critical need in other states, and what we've done is balance the funding up."

Senator Colbeck said Mr Green's yesterday were churlish.

"I just really don't understand what Bryan Green's problem is, other than playing politics with farmers in need," he said.

"His line that the changes were made without consultation is basically just tossing a hissy fit."

"Minister Green is basically wanting to open this up to all growers for productivity," he said.

"He fundamentally doesn't understand what this program is about.

"This is to assist farmers who are in need, farmers who are having difficulties.

"It's not about providing finance to the broad farming community."


© ABC 2013

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