ABC Rural

Craig Zonca and Michael Condon

The loans were the centrepiece of the Federal Government’s emergency drought assistance package, announced two months ago.

While income support payments are already flowing, there’s still no agreement on how to administer the loans.

Charles Burke, from Queensland farm lobby group AgForce, isn’t impressed.

"The timing was critical of that announcement," he said.

"Many of the people that we speak to are just sort of starting to throw their hands in the air and saying ‘well, it hasn’t amounted to anything yet, we haven’t seen the money [and] we’re a bit frustrated’."

Shadow agriculture minister Joel Fitzgibbon believes farmers have every right to be disappointed.

"When Barnaby Joyce and the Prime Minister announced this money, in front of all the television cameras, they didn’t talk about the difficulty in getting the money to flow.

"Farmers were right to believe that this money would be flowing quickly. That was certainly the impression the Prime Minister and the Minister gave them back in February."

However, Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce is confident he can reach an agreement soon.

"In my correspondence back to the states, we’re now just discussing who pays what in the administration of it."

Mr Joyce has called a meeting of his state and territory counterparts for this Friday.

"My strong belief is that we are very close to a conclusion.

"Now if you said weeks or days, no. I’d say within a month."

For the Queensland Agriculture Minister, John McVeigh, an agreement can’t come soon enough.

Almost 80 per cent of his state is currently drought declared and he hopes a resolution is ‘bloody close’.

"I’m becoming a bit anxious on the timeframe that continues to drag out, to be honest.

"We’ve told him [Barnaby Joyce] that we’re ready to roll in Queensland six weeks ago and we’re still waiting."

Mr Joyce says concessional loans are available through the current Farm Finance scheme, although the new arrangements will be more generous once available.

NSW Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson denies her state is holding back the funding deal for concessional loans to drought-affected farmers.

"We are working through the guidelines at the moment," she said.

"The Rural Assistance Authority has been working through the guidelines. The Commonwealth has to be happy with that and see that the T’s are crossed and the I’s are dotted.

“We are not quibbling over the money to administer the scheme, but we are asking for what is only reasonable to administer the scheme here in NSW.

"As soon as we get the agreement signed, we will be ready to roll in NSW.”