Federal Drought package supported by additional State assistance

30 July 2018

Farmers in New South Wales will benefit from additional State Government assistance following further assistance announced under the Federal Coalition Government’s $1.3-billion drought package, Federal Member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie said today.

Dr Gillespie welcomed today’s announcement that the NSW Nationals have secured an additional $500 million Emergency Drought Relief Package, to provide further assistance to farmers hit hard by drought.

The three major elements of the Package are:

  • $190 million for Drought Transport Subsidies;
  • $110 million to cut the cost of farming by waiving fees and charges; and,
  • $150 million to bolster the Farm Innovation Fund (FIF) infrastructure program.

It also includes funding for:

  • Counselling and mental health;
  • Critical services in regional communities including transporting water and drought related road upgrades and repairs; and,
  • Animal welfare and stock disposal.

Dr Gillespie said that with 99% of NSW now in drought, the situation for many famers was extremely distressing and added that the Federal Coalition Government had also introduced a range of measures to provide further help for farmers who are doing it tough.

“Since 2013, the Federal Coalition Government has provided more than $1.3 billion in drought assistance for our farmers. This includes $230 million towards the Farm Household Allowance (FHA) which has helped thousands of farmers and their partners,” Dr Gillespie said.

“I encourage every farmer feeling the pinch to consider applying for the FHA, as well as to make the most of the free help that we provide through the Rural Financial Counselling Service. We have listened and responded to the concerns of our farmers who say they need urgent help during this difficult time.”

FEDERAL DROUGHT MEASURES

  • Farm Household Allowance: launched July 2014; more than $230 million invested by the Federal Government to help more than 7,900 farmers.
  • Rural Financial Counselling Service: Some 130 counsellors helping 4500 people a year with business and commercial counselling and insights. Some $70 million invested by the Federal Coalition Government from April 2016 to June 2020 including a recent $20.4 million extension
  • Pests and weeds: Some $25.8 million over four years from 2015–16 to help manage pest animals and weeds in drought-affected areas. This is in addition to the $50 million announced as part of the Agriculture Competitiveness White Paper to support established pests and weeds nationally.
  • An additional $15 million has been committed to make sure wild dogs and pests don’t decimate lambing in drought-affected parts of NSW and Queensland, where lambing rates have increased from 30% to 80% after dog fences were installed.
  • Farm Liaison Officer: Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud MP recently announced this position to aid farmers in NSW and Queensland.
  • Regional Investment Corporation: will deliver nationally-consistent loans including for farmers in drought. From this month up to $2 billion is available for the delivery of farm business concessional loans an $2 billion for water infrastructure loans.
  • Banking: The Federal Coalition doubled the amount farmers could set aside from their taxable income and hold in Farm Management Deposits (FMDs) to $800,000 and changed the law to allow them to be used as offsets against a farmer’s mortgage. After relentless pressure from Minister Littleproud and his drought roundtable last month, NAB agreed to offer farmers a product which allows them to use their FMD as an offset against their loan, potentially saving farmers millions.
  • Tax: Accelerated depreciation for new water infrastructure, fodder infrastructure and fencing to help farmers prepare for drought, assist with cash flow and encourage on-farm investment. Drought-affected taxpayers who need support with tax debts can ring the ATO on 131 142.
  • Concessional Loans: More than $834 million in concessional loans have been approved to 1,527 farm businesses since the Federal Coalition came to office in 2013.
  • Mental health: Aussie Helpers received another $1 million recently during the PM’s drought tour for an innovative counselling service accessed via SMS. The service offers private, professional mental health advice accessible from anywhere at any time.

Note: Freight and fodder subsidies are the responsibility of state governments.

 

ENDS

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