Just a few weeks after stepping down as president of NSW Farmers, Corowa’s Derek Schoen has landed a job overseeing freight subsidies during the drought to make sure the system is not rorted.
After telling the annual NSW Farmers conference he was over the “fly-in, fly-out” lifestyle of being president, it looks like he will return to that lifestyle as the new Drought Transport Subsidy Integrity Advisor.
Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair announced Mr Schoen would help monitor the freight subsidy system introduced as part of the NSW Government’s $500m response to the drought.
Mr Blair said Mr Schoen would head the NSW Government’s monitoring of the program and freight prices.
Mr Schoen said he would be “naming and shaming” any unscrupulous operators making a profit out of the subsidy situation.
“We’ve heard some anecdotal stories of rorting, we will be keeping a close eye on what is happening by setting up some data bases to monitor prices,” Mr Schoen said.
“If we find anything untoward we will be following that up.
“I suppose you could call this a bit of a shot across the bows of anyone who may want to do the wrong thing.
“We won’t hold back in naming and shaming unscrupulous operators.”
He said he knew supplies of hay were running low in Victoria and South Australia and some farmers would be in a difficult situation sourcing feed until new hay supplies came on the market in late October.
“Every dollar rorted is a dollar that doesn’t help a farmer and I won’t accept anyone gaming the system,” Mr Blair said.
“Derek’s industry experience and work with sectors across NSW puts him in an ideal position to advise the Government on any emerging trends of concern to farmers.
“He will work closely with the Department of Primary Industries’ Market Insights and Analytics Branch to monitor prices of freight and fodder during the Drought Transport Subsidy program.
“The NSW Government is committed to ensuring farmers, their families and the NSW taxpayer gets the best bang for their buck from the subsidy program.”