NSW HAS AUSTRALIA'S WORST AG MINISTER

NSW HAS AUSTRALIA'S WORST AG MINISTER

NSW HAS AUSTRALIA'S WORST AG MINISTER

25 February 2005

NSW Labor Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald is the worst Labor Agriculture Minister in Australia with NSW in danger of being the only State not to sign up to FarmBis 3, Shadow Agriculture Minister Duncan Gay said today.

"Minister Ian Macdonald is the only State Agriculture Minister in the nation to have failed to indicate a solid commitment to the FarmBis program," Mr Gay said.

"FarmBis is an essential joint Federal/State program that offers financial incentives to farmers to access training courses.

"It's time Mr Macdonald followed the lead of other State Governments across the country and finally committed to this essential service.

"Other States have signed on so why won't NSW? The Minister should act now and stop leaving NSW farmers in limbo.

"Farmers and producers are being disadvantaged and there is no reason why the NSW Labor Government should continue to deny farmers access to this worthwhile program," Member for Lismore Thomas George said.

"Minister Macdonald first blamed the hold up on NSW Treasury and when questioned this week the Minister then indicated the blame lay with the Federal Coalition Government for making some minor changes to the program.

"Minister Macdonald, other States in Australia have managed and have willingly signed up to the agreement so why won't you?"

Mr George said he has had a number of telephone calls in relation to the FarmBis funding hold-up and that this is not good enough considering the program looked to enhance the viability of farmers and the management of land.

"Given the current climate of drought it's appalling that FarmBis funding has not been available since August 2003."

"More than $15 million has been allocated in the State Budget for this vital program, so lets see it!

"NSW farmers are being left behind as they suffer the consequences of having the worst Labor Agriculture Minister in Australia."

Lismore Contact Details:

Office: 55 Carrington Street  LISMORE
Postal: PO Box 52  LISMORE  NSW  2480
Telephone: 02 6621 3624
Facsimile: 02 6622 1403
Email: lismore@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Murwillumbah Contact Details:

Telephone: 02 6672 7577