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FEDERAL FARM LOANS TO BE RUN BY STATE

STRUGGLING FARMERS LOANS FROM FEDS TO BE RUN BY STATES

The commonwealth’s financing offer for struggling farmers will be administered and repaid by the state government, West Australian Premier Colin Barnett says.

The federal government’s Farm Finance package, announced on Saturday, will give Western Australia $60 million over two years for low-cost loans to farmers, dwarfing WA’s earlier promise of $7.8 million in emergency aid for the state’s hardest-hit farmers.

The states and territories were expected to administer and pay back the federal loans, Mr Barnett said.

He said the commonwealth did not formally notify him of those details until Tuesday, when he received a letter from federal agriculture minister Joe Ludwig.

“The commonwealth government is not saying they’re going to lend to farmers. They’re saying they will lend to the state government, and the state government can lend to farmers … to be repaid by the state government,” he told ABC radio.

“Not as it was portrayed, (as) loans to farmers directly.

“So they expect the state to administer it and we’ll do our best.”

The loans might give some confidence to farmers but were unlikely to help with this year’s crop, the premier said.

He also said the state government would look at keeping open “Tier 3” rail lines in rural areas of WA that it had previously flagged for closure in October.

The lines, which move a lot of grain to export markets, are in urgent need of repair.

Mr Barnett said the WA government would consult with farmers and transport groups about keeping them open.

AAP

Wild Secrets
May 1st, 2013
Topic: GOVERNMENT, GRASSES LEGUMES, HELP ASSISTANCE, LOANS & GRANTS, Money & Investments Tags: , , ,

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