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Katter grills Govt over TC Niran grants: Show me the money!

Jul 1, 2021

Katter grills Govt over TC Niran grants: Show me the money!

Jul 1, 2021

KAP Federal Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter, has grilled the Federal and State Governments, asking them to “show him the money” and release the remaining $50,000 grants as promised and announced to fruit growers decimated by March’s Tropical Cyclone Niran, in Far North Qld.

The grants were increased from $25,000 to $75,000 in [1]April after significant pressure was applied by Bob, the State Member for Hill, Shane Knuth and a team of local growers on the ground.

Mr Katter said he wrote to the Federal Agriculture Minister as soon as he was told last week and has since made several calls asking for a please explain as to why grants for impacted growers hadn’t been made accessible online.

“I mean, come on. This is taking far too long. These farmers haven’t made a dime since March and won’t be making money until at least next year, so they need these grants to cover wage costs, to replant the banana plantations and they needed it months ago,” he said.

“My blood boiled when we were contacted by a banana grower last week who represents several Cassowary Coast growers and told us that all the growers that had tried to access the additional $50,000 were all being rejected.

“We’ve spent months navigating the cess-pit of Federal and State government procedure to get the grants increased to $75,000, in line with the loss and damage seen by these farmers.

“I made it clear to the Federal Minister that it was our understanding that once the announcement was made on Friday the 30th of April by the Minister himself and his Queensland counterpart Minister Furner, the grants would be accessible via the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA} via the qrida.qld.gov.au website. At least, this is what the Federal Government’s disasterassist.gov.au website [2] tells us.”

Mr Katter said Minister Littleproud’s office was yet to officially respond but they had said in phone conversations that they were unaware of any issues with the grants and were “looking into it”.

“Nick Dametto is putting huge pressure on the State Government to front up with the cash, and I’m doing the same thing in Canberra. We won’t stop until we get these grants into the hands of the growers.”

[1] https://minister.homeaffairs.gov.au/davidlittleproud/Pages/assistance-queenslands-primary-producers.aspx

[2] https://www.disasterassist.gov.au/Pages/disasters/current-disasters/Queensland/tropical-cyclone-niran-25-feb-3-mar.aspx

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