Farmers claim Gillard Govt has 'robbed Peter to pay Paul'

AUSTRALIA'S rural industries largely dodged the scalpel wielded by the Federal Treasurer for this week's Federal Budget, but the peak body for farmers was by no means thankful.

National Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig used the budget on Tuesday to announce $99.4 million for a farmer allowance that he said was the centre of National Drought Program Reform.

This payment would be given not on how their region was affected, but on the needs of the farmers themselves.

It will be rolled out from July 1 next year, replacing two other forms of farmer support, Exceptional Circumstances and Transitional Farm Family payments.

National Farmers' Federation president Duncan Fraser said primary producers appreciated the almost $100 million in support, but said it was old news revealed as part of the Caring for our Country project.

"What the government has done (on Tuesday) is rob Peter to pay Paul," Mr Fraser said.

"The budget papers show that there will be a redirection of $141.5 million of Caring for our Country funds over fiver years to fund the household support package and other initiatives."

Some wins and losses were not just earmarked for those on the land, with Mr Fraser saying cuts to carbon tax assistance could hurt farmers but $24 billion for regional infrastructure would deliver benefits for those in rural Australia.

"Overall though, tonight's budget is a disappointing one for the Australian agricultural sector," Mr Fraser said.

"While the Treasurer has focussed his attention on jobs and growth, the government has provided little to help agriculture on either front."



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