Minister Provides Background Information On Drought Relief Measures

Minister Provides Background Information On Drought Relief Measures

New South Wales Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair

Drought Relief Measures Explained

Victor P Taffa

We had some welcome rain over the weekend but sadly it was nowhere near enough to bring this drought to an end, Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair said.

As Nationals in Government, we are continuing to do everything we can to help our farmers and communities through this tough time.

“I know we keep saying there’s more than a billion dollars’ worth of drought relief on the table, but I wanted to break that down and explain what’s happening across the State.” Minister Blair said.

In July, the New South Wales Government announced $500 Million in Emergency Drought Relief, which includes:

  • $190 Million for Drought Transport Subsidies,
  • $150 Million to bolster the Farm Innovation Fund (FIF) infrastructure program,
  • $100 Million to cut the cost of farming by waiving fees and charges.

Eligible farm businesses can access up to $20,000 per year for transport subsidies. This measure has been back-dated to January 1, which means it equates to up to $30,000 over 18 months from January 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.

Since the Drought Transport Subsidy program opened on August 6, the NSW Rural Assistance Authority has received more than 1,000 applications, the vast majority of which have been for the transportation of fodder.

“This isn’t just about providing relief. We know droughts are part of life on the land, so we’re also providing primary producers with interest-free loans to install on-farm fodder and water infrastructure.” Minister Blair said.

This loan has a 7-year interest-free repayment term, with no repayment required in the first 2 years. That’s money that can be accessed right now to help improve properties so that when it starts raining again, farmers can take full advantage of it.

More than 330 applications have been received for the Drought Assistance Fund so far, totalling $15.9 Million.

“We’ve also topped up the Farm Innovation Fund with an additional $150 Million, available to farmers for long-term drought preparedness.” Minister Blair said.

In addition, all LLS rates, including General Rates and Rates for Animal Health and Pests, the Meat Industry Levy, and costs of Routine Stock Moving Permit and Stock Identification will be automatically waived for 2019.

“There’s a lot of help available for those affected by the drought but it’s important that people do not self-assess their eligibility for Government assistance.” Minister Blair said.

Minister Blair said all those affected by drought to call the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or their Local Land Services on 1300 795 299.

 

Abbreviations:

LLS                 Local Land Services

NSW               New South Wales