The recent announcement by the NSW government for additional support for farmers is a further positive action to support farmers facing increasingly severe drought conditions.
Over recent months farmers have focused on making sure that their animals have adequate supply of feed and water. The establishment of $20,000 low interest transport loans with delayed repayments was welcomed. However, NSW Farmers’ was concerned that there were a number of requirements, such as working with a Rural Financial Councillor; being in receipt of Farm Household Allowance, and needing to develop a management plan, that excluded farmers from applying.
The new $50,000 drought assistance fund has addressed those barriers. These loans will be interest free for seven years and payment free for the first two years. Additionally – while the initial loans were only for transport, the new drought assistance fund can be used for a wide range of activities including building or upgrading water supply, and transport of stock for sale, adjustment or slaughter.
A further benefit is that for sharefarmers or those leasing properties, who were previously excluded from applying for a drought transport loan, may be considered as security on a case by case basis.
The commitment to three additional Doppler radars will bring great benefit. During periods of extended drought, effective health, welfare, and social support are just as critical as financial measures. On the ground mental health services that help individuals and communities remain strong and healthy are welcome.
NSW Farmers is also pleased by the NSW government’s new kangaroo management plans and the new funding under the Farm Innovation Fund is a positive step and farmers welcome these additional and vital initiatives.
- NSW Farmers’ president Derek Schoen