Local News

Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon asking why Singleton has been snubbed for drought funding


Hunter MP and Shadow Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon is asking why Singleton has been snubbed for drought funding. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a further $100 million drought assistance package for farmers and communities across the country that included adding 13 more Councils to the Drought Communities Programme.

Upper Hunter Shire and Muswellbrook were already in the program, but Singleton missed out again. 

"Scott Morrison says Muswellbrook is in drought but Singleton is not and everyone in the Singleton community including the Mayor knows that not to be true and yet he gave the same level of funding to Moyne Shire Council in Victoria and the Mayor there says look we're not in drought, we don't need this money," said Joel Fitzgibbon.

"Drought affects farmers first but here's a knock-on effect in every rural community and consumer spending falls, so these communities need help, they needed help two years ago and they're not receiving the help. Friday's announcement was ad hoc, there's no strategic direction from the government, farmers are getting angrier by the day and I don't blame them."

"Representations on behalf of Singleton Council have again been ignored and people are right to be angry.  They are among Scott Morrison’s forgotten people."

Joel Fitzgibbon said he fears the Coalition isn't giving Labor held seats funding.

"It does appear that towns represented by Labor members of parliament are missing out and those represented by Nats are getting money even though they don't need it, now we'll give the government the benefit of the doubt but I think they need to clarify this question,"

"It would be extraordinary if the government was using the drought to gain political capital by pork barrelling their own seats and leaving Labor towns off the list so let's give them the benefit of the doubt but let's have them explain why Singleton can't receive drought funding when we know it is in drought," he said.

"Scott Morrison should stop he's claiming $7 billion on drought, it's simply not true. It's an audacious lie."

"He gets there by counting the capital value of concessional loans in the drought fund, none of that money is going to farmers so he needs to be more honest with the community, put a strategic plan in place and get on with giving the farmers and rural communities the help that they need."

Image credit: Grant Broadcasters/Jessica Rouse