Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett
Western Australia Minister for Agriculture and Food Ken Baston
$7.8 M Support Package To Assist WA Farmers
Victor P Taffa
- Package includes financial support payments for eligible farmers
- Boost to community, social support and rural counselling services
- Grants to help vulnerable farmers transition off farms
Premier Colin Barnett and Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston today announced $7.8 Million support package to assist the State’s most vulnerable farmers.
“The State Government is very optimistic about the future of farming in WA, but this package recognises that there are some in our farming community that are doing it tough.” Premier Barnett said.
“These farmers are proud people, and some have been working their land for generations. The issue now is that some of those farms are struggling and others are simply not viable, and so the purpose of these support grants is to do what we can to help them through a difficult and challenging time in their lives.”
State Cabinet has supported a three-part package which includes:
- $1.8 Million towards additional social support and rural counselling services in the Wheatbelt, including $300,000 for local governments to stage community events
- $5 Million to provide financial support of up to $25,000 to enable eligible farm families and businesses to get through this season
- Exit grants of up to $20,000 for living and transitional expenses for farmers who have owned their farm for at least five-years and have net assets of no more than $450,000 after the sale.
Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston said the assistance package was drafted following consultation with farmers, farm businesses, industry groups, local government and rural lenders.
“Feedback from these groups is that the vast majority of our farming community is strong.” Mr. Baston said.
However, some farm businesses had been impacted by an unprecedented sequence of seasonal events, including droughts and frosts.
“This has led to exceptionally challenging financial circumstances for grain growers preparing to plant this year’s crops, particularly in the eastern Wheatbelt.”
“We understand that in the eastern Wheatbelt there are a number of farmers in real crisis and may no longer be viable but the Government recognises there are also a number of farms that with a little bit of help will get through this season.”
Mr. Baston said the exit grants would also assist those farmers who may be leaving their farms for other reasons, including those reaching retirement age.
The Premier said the Government and industry were examining other measures to build the sustainability and profitability of farm businesses and the sector into the future, including market security, red tape reduction and crop insurance products.
- Support package incorporates:
- $1.8 M over 12 months for social support and counselling services, including $300,000 in community support grants for 15 Wheatbelt shires experiencing significant financial hardship
- $5 M for financial support payments of up to $25,000 per farm business, to go towards living and transitional allowances
- $1 M for exit assistance grants of up to $20,000 per farm business
- Funding is for 2013 and will be administered through the Rural Business Development Corporation, in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture and Food
- More information about the support package is available by contacting (Free call) 1800 198 231.