Australia

'I can’t make it rain': Morrison’s $31 million drought relief package for farmers

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced $31 million for an irrigation project in Victoria's Gippsland region as farmers grapple with drought.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has launched a blistering attack on Labor and an independent MP after they voted against a fund to drought-proof Australian farms.

The Future Drought Fund was the key announcement from last year's national drought summit in Canberra and is to initially begin with $3.9 billion before growing to $5 billion in 2028.

Labor failed to stop the bill passing the lower house but could stop it dead in its tracks in the Senate, if the Greens and enough crossbenchers are opposed.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced $31 million for an irrigation project in Victoria's Gippsland region as farmers grapple with drought.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced $31 million for an irrigation project in Victoria's Gippsland region as farmers grapple with drought.
AAP

"We saw the lowest political act in this nation's history when the Labor Party and Kerryn Phelps voted against the Future Drought Fund," Mr Littleproud told reporters in regional Victoria on Sunday.

"To politicise the misery of these people is something I'd never thought I'd see in this nation."

Labor's agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon said the government was robbing Peter to pay Paul, with the money coming from an infrastructure fund.

"Regional road projects were the big losers when, despite Labor's best efforts, the legislation to establish the National Party's latest slush fund was passed," he said.

Labor's agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon said the government was robbing Peter to pay Paul, with the money coming from an infrastructure fund.
Labor's agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon said the government was robbing Peter to pay Paul, with the money coming from an infrastructure fund.
AAP

The agriculture minister's escalation came as he joined Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Gippsland to tour the drought-affected Victorian region.

Mr Morrison pledged $31 million for the Macalister Irrigation District project along with a $2.5 million investment in mental health services.

"I can't make it rain but we're working closely with the local community to ensure the right supports are in place and that we have the water infrastructure needed for the future," Mr Morrison said in a statement.

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