Like a true Liberal Heffernan has been infected with the free trade mantra. He obviously has no idea of rural economics by his punitive statement “(the bank would) ….distort market forces.”
Its time NSW farmers got rid of Heffernan.
NSW Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan has weighed into the debate on drought policy, saying his suggested plan was ignored in the Coalition party room.
Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has told drought-stricken farmers that he plans to take their calls for urgent assistance to Cabinet.
He wants Cabinet to sign off on a multi-billion-dollar assistance package, but he admits he has a big fight on his hands to convince his colleagues.
Mr Joyce has yet to put his drought assistance plan together
Reports are surfacing that Treasurer Joe Hockey is nervous about approving drought assistance valued at hundreds of millions of dollars.
Senator Heffernan was one of the stalwarts of the Liberal Party and key advisor to Prime Minister John Howard on the last big drought, the millennium drought.
He says that he’d previously warned that landholders in Queensland did not have a proper plan if it didn’t rain.
"You have got some people that plan for things, but in the party room last August I warned we should put a plan in place that in the event of no rain we could manage the numbers of cattle.
"We should have set up a pit system, so that the tail-end cattle could be disposed of and farmers could get a small payment per head to help with cash flow, similar to the system to dispose of sheep several years ago.
"This drought policy needs to be a non-parochial and non-political.
"When I raised the idea of drought planning last year, they told me where to go.
"Maybe it will rain tomorrow, but if it doesn’t you have got to have a plan.
"There is also a problem with interest rate subsidies and setting up a Rural Bank as they distort the market forces.
"With this level of debt, you can’t expect that the money will be paid back when good seasons return.
"Some farmers are not able to meet their interest bill despite record low interest rates. Maybe some farms are not viable any more.
"I would want to see the detail on any drought policy, before I would agree to support it."