Member for Mount Isa Rob Katter has harnessed the positives following the Palaszczuk Government’s most recent QRAA changes, in favour of the Rural Debt and Drought Taskforce findings.
Responding to the recommendation for more flexibility in current loaning models, the Palaszczuk government was pushed to commit to more than doubling of the maximum QRAA Sustainability Loan scheme limits to $1.3 million.
“Broadening the ability for producers to reinvest in their operations, and relieve themselves of some of the heat of commercial debt is a step for the current government,” Mr Katter said.
But he warns that reconstruction of the sector is a long road, and the changes needed pale in comparison.
With the previous QRAA loan limit set at a low rate, the uptake of the loans themselves were limited, as of December 2015 only four producers took on these loans in the whole of the vast Mount Isa Electorate.
“The low threshold placed on these loans was an issue that arose time and time again during the Rural Debt and Drought Taskforce hearings.”
“Funds significant enough to get the motors turning again and stimulate the towns hit hardest by the drought was needed, and the previous funds simply weren’t enough,” he said.
As part of the next phase towards rural reconstruction Mr Katter hopes to pass legislation to develop an alternate loan authority by expanding the capacity of QRAA.
The Rural and Regional Adjustment (Development Assistance) Amendment Bill, which is still in the committee process, is one of the most significant financial reforms proposed for the sector for the past few decades.
“Only through this alternate loaning facility will we sure up the longevity of regional Queensland, and the family producers that sustain it,” Mr Katter said.
“We are currently in negotiations with both of the major parties to secure their support for this proposal,” he said.
The KAP Rural and Regional Adjustment (Development Assistance ) Amendment Bill is set to be voted on by the end of the year.
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