The Meeting Place

Does $4 billion in foreign aid make sense when we can only commit $190 million to help our farmers?


Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull early this week announced $190 million in funding to provide immediate financial support to farmers. While this may sound like a lot, it comes to around $12,000 per farmer.

Many farmers are suggesting that the $12,000 will do little for those most communities affected by what is being described as one of the worst droughts of the past century.

In the 2018-19 budget estimates, the Australian Federal Government has commited over $4 billion to foreign aid. Does this amount of money being spent offshore make sense when our citizens are in need of support? Should some of this aid be redirected to helping our farmers? Or should the Government be doing more to find ample support for our farmers?

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The Foreign Aid comitment is around 0.6% of the Federal Budget. 

Can anyone tell us what amount may be more suitable?

It's also worth considering how a Foreign Aid Budget could impact on Domestic Aid caused by an Act of God or Force Majeure? How are the two Budgets related?

Foreign aid is a contentious point at this time, however, I think we have to tread carefully when we talk of cutting it, nevertheless, I believe it should be reduced.

Compared to farmers in Europe, Asia and the US, Australian farmers get only a fraction of government subsidies. These subsidies unfortunately are almost useless if farmers do not try to help themselves. Free expert advice is provided through Rural Financial Counsellors, but the majority of farmers do not use it. 

Free expert advice is provided through Rural Financial Counsellors, but the majority of farmers do not use it. 

You got that right Banjo, as you know, I am not a farmer myself but come from a farming family and even through droughts in NSW they have fared well. A hard slog but they did it. Over the years I have seen relatives invest both in water and feed, even going without on personal things so they can handle the drought when it arrives.

The worst part of a drought is coping with those people who don’t have a plan and who don’t prepare well in advance. There’s a saying I use sometimes which I learnt on the farm “Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance (PPPPPPP). I tell my students this on a regular basis too.


Give us a break. NSW is giving these guys a billion dollars, and eligibility includes those who earned up to ten million last year. Now they're feeling sorry for themselves because they have to watch their animals die on land that is affected by drought every 5-10 years, instead of getting paid to have them killed behind high walls.

As Ceejay eluded to, Farmers dont want to sell their stock because in times of drought the prices are low. Sure, that could possibly have a knock on effect, resulting in low retail prices for consumers, but the Pitt street farmers would be out of pocket. Is that good for the economy? lol 

What criteria applies to define a 'farmer' ? Personal (past) experience gives me to understand that hobby farming does not a 'farmer' make. For obvious reasons the ATO requires a business plan that discloses the likelihood of a profit at some projected point in time to qualify as a primary producer.

Whereas many country regions have small holdings doesn't necessarily follow said holdings are viable production units. I'd seriously question whether gubbermint, fed or state, should consider assisting hobby farmers. Depending on where a farm is located and therefore the likelihood of it being a viable proposition will often be largely determined by the respective holding size relevant to the particular area. Stocking rates may often vary over relatively short distances and are affected by many variables, eg, water storage capacity, soil type/structure, topographics and animal type to name but a few.

Whilst varying degrees of drought existed in parts of Oz during PM Keating's reign '90 - '96: also coinciding with our own time on a small holding, I recall a radio interview in which the issue of - subsidy/support/assistance was discussed with him. Said interview proved enlightening, at least for your truly in that Keating (as was his wont) didn't refrain from calling it as he (saw) it. However, an interesting fact that emerged was that, of the total handouts - in their many and various disguises - the bulk of it ended up in the pocket's of the wealthiest 'primary producers'. Now to be sure, economy of scale may determine that this is an inevitability but Keating's hint that they're the ones most deserving might well have been a tad tongue in cheek. 

For what it's worth, dstarks' commentary is likelier nearer the crux of this matter than a good many of the unwittingly well meaning, although poorly informed comment posted - for want of nothing better - than; "I'm entitled to my opinion". 

Nothing that the government does makes much sence anymore so be glad you are not affected.


Here is a petition to sign if anyone is interested, it is to give the money back and start a proper process of tenders.

you are so right!

already signed musicv - & soo rapt that WA et al are helping with hay bales. 

So proud to be West Australian, we're off to save the day with bales of hay for NSW. Hope you guys are grateful.

Image result for wa road trains taking hay to farmers

Love ''s the Aussie 'thingie' @ work yet again.

Good on you West Australians, what a show of solidarity. Great to see on the news all the trucks rolling in. Every bale helps.

I agree, it's great to see the good old Aussie value of helping your mates when they need it.

However, should we also spare a thought for the Greens? They must be so dissapointed when they see these trucks rolling down the highway burning up all that filthy deisel fuel, carrying hay bound for bovine which will use it to make methane and add to global warming and climate change. All this at a time when they would want our cattle stocks reduced to just 40% as part of their climate change policy.  

Hats off to West Aussies Micha, sure is a sight for sore eyes to see the trucks rolling into Condobolin. My hope is farmers can learn something from this last drought i.e. they know it's coming sometime down the track, so prepare, prepare, prepare.

23 road trains arrive in Condobolin with over 2,000 hay bales

In Victoria we have had a very dry winter and the summer is not looking good.

Fire restrictions are starting early and arsonists are out already starting fires.

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