The government’s position on support for Holden and SPC Ardmona were the cause for delays in drought assistance, says Joel Fitzgibbon.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott delayed his decision on drought assistance to farmers for fear of looking inconsistent following the government’s refusal to help struggling manufacturers, Labor says.

Mr Abbott last week announced a $320 million package for drought hit farmers in NSW and Queensland, which includes increasing access to a concessional loan scheme, income support and mental health support.

But opposition agricultural spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon said farmers were now asking “why did it take so long?”

He said the government was told months ago how about the extent of the problem.

“The prime minister was concerned about this inconsistency between Holden and Toyota and farming, SPC (Ardmona) and farming,” Mr Fitzgibbon told ABC television on Sunday.

“So he very deliberately took a long time to make the announcement to demonstrate that he was agonising over this decision and to find a way to justify it.”