Drought Finance Taskforce
A new Drought Finance Taskforce was announced last week, which will look at how the government and banks can further support farmers and small businesses.
I’m pleased the communities in my electorate dealing with the drought continue to be a priority for the government through the expansion of the $1.8 billion Drought Assistance Package.
Importantly, the taskforce will consider and respond to the impact of the drought on local small businesses as well as farmers. It’s necessary that we shine a light on the businesses in rural and regional areas that are also feeling the effects of the tough times. I believe this will be very welcome in the Parkes electorate.
The taskforce is another way for government, business and industry to work together and ensure that they are receiving the most up-to-date information from my electorate and others. Its aim is also to ensure a quick response, so farmers and local small businesses receive the extra support they need, as soon as possible.
The taskforce will include the Treasurer who will serve as chair, the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources who will serve as deputy chair, drought special envoy Barnaby Joyce, regional Queensland Member of Parliament John McVeigh, a senior representative from the National Farmers Federation (NFF) and a senior representative from ANZ, the Commonwealth Bank, the National Australia Bank, Rabobank and Westpac.
The Drought Finance Taskforce will:
• leverage government, business and industry resources to further determine the impact that the drought’s impact on farmers and local small businesses;
• establish mechanisms to share insights in a timely manner; and
• advise the Government, bank CEOs and the NFF on drought impacts and further measures that could help alleviate the impacts.
The Drought Finance Taskforce and the Coalition Government’s support for farmers and rural and regional small businesses is part of our plan to keep the economy strong, and I look forward to seeing the taskforce evolve.
Scholarships for rural and regional students
Students in my electorate can now apply for a Government-funded scholarship to study a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) course through the $24 million Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships program.
Applications are open now and will close 14 December 2018.
Scholarships of up to $18,000 are on offer to help students in the Parkes electorate with the costs of studying STEM at university or a vocational education and training institution.
New guidelines will also make it easier for drought-affected students to apply, including families receiving the Farm Household Allowance.
One of these scholarships could help a promising student realise their potential and get a STEM education that will open a world of future possibilities.
I encourage every student in my electorate who wants to study STEM to apply for the program.
The scholarships may also include internships to help students develop their professional experience and ensure they’re job-ready.
More than 1200 rural, regional and remote students will receive support through the program.
For further information and to apply, visit https://www.education.gov.au/rural-and-regional-enterprise-scholarships or https://www.qtac.edu.au/scholarships