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Future Drought Fund that formed centrepiece of Scott Morrison's summit passes Lower House

By political reporter Tom Iggulden, Tuesday July 23, 2019 - 06:44 EST
ABC licensed image
The fund will pay out $100 million next financial year and the same again in 2021. - ABC licensed

Rain is still not forecast for drought-stricken communities, but there is Federal Government money on the horizon for next year.

Parliament has cleared the way for a new Future Drought Fund to be established, to help people prepare for and respond to drought from next year.

The Future Drought Fund was the centrepiece of Prime Minister Scott Morrison's 2018 drought summit.

Money for that fund, which is modelled on the Medical Research Future Fund, will come from the Building Australia Fund, which has sat dormant since the 2014-15 financial year.

It will pay out $100 million next financial year and the same again in 2021.

and pushing for a different funding model if it was elected.

But legislation passed the Lower House on Monday night with bipartisan support, after bitter debate.

Both parties accused each other of politicising the plight of the nation's farmers, with Labor criticising the fund for only delivering $200 million in the first two years of operation.

"This mob wastes more than that before breakfast," Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese told Parliament.

Mr Albanese accused Mr Morrison of taking a narrow view of the drought.

"Two words the Prime Minister didn't use: climate change," he told Parliament.

Government backbencher Barnaby Joyce accused Labor of playing up to inner-city voters.

"There is not one thing this Parliament can do to change the weather," he told Parliament.

"What they can do is make vulnerable people poorer."

The bill is expected to pass the Senate.


© ABC 2019

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