More drought funding announced for NSW farmers

By Country News

A new $310 million drought assistance package designed to accelerate the recovery of farms has been rolled out by the NSW Government.

The package will see the Drought Assistance Fund cap doubled per eligible primary producer.

Under the fund, farmers can now access up to $100,000 for any activity that promotes on-farm profitability, including restocking.

The package will also see the Drought Transport Subsidy extended to cover the cost of transport of fodder, water and stock and other farm inputs, such as chemical or seed, for eligible farmers.

A pro rata rate of $25,000 per primary producer will apply to the DTS, which expires at the end of the year.

“Our farmers in regional NSW have battled through unprecedented droughts, floods, bushfires and now COVID-19,” NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said.

“Whilst they are resilient, their ability to weather this compounding storm is becoming harder and harder.

“That is why this government has sought to deliver drought assistance that provides ongoing support to farmers still battling drought, while helping to accelerate recovery for producers who have seen conditions improve.”

NSW Farmers Association president James Jackson said for those farmers that have had some rain, rebuilding after the ravages of drought is costly and most farming operations will not return income or potential profit for at least six to 12 months.

“Expanding the Drought Transport Subsidy to cover 50 per cent of transport costs for re-stocking is a win for farmers, and is a positive and welcome response from (NSW) Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall to NSW Farmers’ advocacy in this space,” Mr Jackson said.

“Many farmers will have destocked as the drought deepened or faced increased costs for keeping livestock.

“As the drought has been so widespread, the costs of transport are also significantly higher.”