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No work done after Nationals' treasurer got $850k water-saving grant

Sydney Morning Herald by nick mcKenzie and Richard Baker

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The Nationals' federal treasurer and candidate for the Victorian seat of Shepparton, Peter Schwarz, is accused of gouging much of the $850,000 he was paid by Australia's largest drought-proofing project.

Mr Schwarz is also accused of then calling in favours when pressed to account for the taxpayer cash.

As Prime Minister Scott Morrison launches his drought summit, leaked government files reveal that Mr Schwarz banked the taxpayer subsidies in November 2011 and then spent years resisting efforts from water officials to get him to either return the money or use it for its intended purpose - saving water.

Feral pests looking for food and water offers chance to control numbers, expert says

ABC News

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The impact of the drought on wild animals offers a chance to try to get on top of pest numbers, a land service officer has said.

The widespread nature of the drought is affecting more than just livestock and wildlife, with feral animals also struggling to find food and water.

This is bringing them closer to areas where humans are present as they compete with livestock for resources.

Central Tablelands Local Land Service senior officer, Paul Gibb, said the congregation of pest animals around water sources offered opportunities for landholders.

Federal anti-corruption body motion could test Coalition control in minority government

ABC News

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A motion to create a federal anti-corruption commission could test the Coalition's control of Federal Parliament as it prepares for minority government.

Greens senator Larissa Waters believes there is now majority support for a national body, with the Liberal Party likely to lose the historically safe seat of Wentworth to independent Kerryn Phelps.

All six crossbench MPs have indicated they would support a national commission and Federal Labor has already pledged to establish one if elected at the next election.

To test the numbers, the Greens will introduce a Senate motion calling on the Coalition to "establish a national anti-corruption commission".

Senator Waters expects that motion — which would require an immediate debate in the Lower House — would pass with the support of Labor.

Key points:
Senator Waters expects the motion would pass with the support of Labor
Kerryn Phelps says she sees the creation of such a body "as something that is very achievable"
Christian Porter has previously said there was no persuasive evidence for a national integrity commission

New $5 billion future drought fund to help farmers battle changing climates

ABC News

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Helping farmers prepare for future droughts will be the focus of a new multi-billion-dollar fund that Prime Minister Scott Morrison will unveil today.

The $5-billion Future Drought Fund will be announced at a national drought summit, which brings together state and federal governments, weather experts, farm lobbyists and charities, in Canberra.

Key points:
The Federal Government will commit an initial $3.9 billion to the fund, with $100 million to be available each year from 2020
Money will be provided for community services, research, technology and infrastructure
Legislation to create the fund will need to pass Parliament
The Federal Government will initially commit $3.9 billion to the fund, which will reach $5 billion by 2028.

But only $100 million will be available each year from 2020, with that money being allocated by a board of guardians.

Mullaley Drought Taskforce and Mark Coulton prepare for federal drought summit

The Northern Daily Leader Billy Jupp

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THE Mullaley Drought Taskforce is hoping to put forward a range of suggestions via a submission to this Friday’s federal government drought summit in Canberra.

Interest rate subsides, post drought recovery and protecting stock breeding herds are some of what the group of locals will bring to the government’s attention.


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