Two thirds of QLD in drought: Farmers need more help
WITH more than two-thirds of Queensland still struggling with punishing drought conditions, the state is now throwing its support behind the Nationals' fight to give more help to farmers.
The Federal Government is trying to grapple with a growing divide in the Coalition as the Nationals demand financial aid for rural producers while the Liberals vow to cut down on handouts.
Queensland Agriculture Minister John McVeigh is backing federal counterpart Barnaby Joyce - a National - against Liberal Treasurer Joe Hockey.
It follows revelations the drought-ravaged north-west town of Cloncurry must now consider evacuation if dry conditions continue.
Mr Joyce wants Cabinet to support a far-reaching bailout for primary producers while Mr Hockey earlier this week said no extra help was on the horizon.
Already Coalition MPs from three drought-affected seats, Bruce Scott in Maranoa, Michelle Landry in Capricornia and Ken O'Dowd in Flynn, have echoed Mr Joyce's rural mayday call.
Mr McVeigh told APN Mr Joyce "understands the need of people on the land" and the state would support anything to help Queensland farmers and communities.
"Right now, we have an opportunity to refine drought assistance nationally and I'll be working closely with Minister Joyce along with my other state counterparts."
Mr McVeigh said even if there was widespread rains, farms were still facing a "cash flow crisis" thanks to hulking debt obligations.
This was creating a "groundswell of concern," he said.
"This is a time for all governments to work together and focus on getting support out to those who need it."
The issue is likely to be a priority at the Nationals' party room meeting being held today in Bundaberg.