Govt agrees to Independent's drought bill changes
Agricultural communities will benefit from the amendments to the Future Drought Fund bill passed by Parliament yesterday, Member for Indi Ms Cathy McGowan said.
“The $100 million fund will now meet social, economic and environmental benchmarks following the Government’s acceptance of the amendments,” she said today.
“I am pleased and delighted that the Government has agreed to my amendments that allow greater transparency and oversight in how the $100 million annual drought fund will operate,” Ms McGowan said.
“This landmark bill is a result of collaboration between a number of groups. It demonstrates that Independents have an impact, working together with Government, the crossbenchers and the National Farmers Federation.
“The result is legislation that is far more workable, relevant and accountable focussed on meeting the needs of regional Australia in times of crippling drought.
“The amendments include making the Minister accountable to the Parliament for expenditure, creating a consultative committee including drought experts to advise on funding and implementation, and a mechanism to review the funding plan through the Productivity Commission.
“I welcome the NFF’s acknowledgement of the collaborate effort on this Bill and I am particularly pleased that their push for a consultative committee was successful because people impacted by drought need to have a place at the table to provide advice on funding allocation and implementation,” Ms McGowan said.
Ms McGowan said the Bill gets to the core of how best to deal with drought, with checks and balances to ensure good governance processes and oversight and review mechanisms to measure its success.
“This is a huge win for rural and regional Australia, particularly vulnerable communities hit by drought.”
Cathy’s speech can be viewed here: http://www.cathymcgowan.com.au/drought_bill_amendments_pass_in_parliament
National Farmers Federation media release