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Tasmania close to signing farm assistance package

Saturday December 7, 2013 - 07:41 EDT
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The Primary Industries Minister, Bryan Green, has promised farmers he is close to signing the Federal Government's farm finance package.

The scheme would provide $15 million in loans to Tasmanian farmers needing assistance.

Tasmania is the only state that is yet to sign the deal and the Federal Government says it is denying farmers the help they need.

On the Country Hour, the Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Tasmanian Senator Richard Colbeck, accused Mr Green of playing politics on the issue.

"He's basically just tossing a hissy fit. He's preventing farmers who are in need, accessing this finance."

But Mr Green says the government is imposing too many conditions on the loans and Tasmania had been offered a bad deal.

The Minister has discussed the issue at a meeting in Melbourne with the Federal Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce.

He says the sticking points are close to being resolved.

"I wrote to the federal minister and I asked him to consider whether or not we could use some of those funds for more productive purposes so that we could continue to drought-proof our state.

"And I have to say that the minister has given me a very fair hearing, and I will be in a position over the next few days to make an announcement as to how we will be signing off on the agreement," said Mr Green.


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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