Sheep shorn, cattle fed: Scott Morrison helps out at farm near Dubbo

Federal election 2019: Prime Minister Scott Morrison visits family farm near Dubbo

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WORKING HARD: John Fittler and James Amey gave Prime Minister Scott Morrison's sheep shearing skills a tick of approval. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

WORKING HARD: John Fittler and James Amey gave Prime Minister Scott Morrison's sheep shearing skills a tick of approval. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

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Millions of dollars in extra funding for drought affected communities was promised.

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It's not often you see the Prime Minister of Australia roll up his sleeves to shear sheep and feed cattle in the bush but that's exactly what Scott Morrison did during a visit to the West's family farm near Dubbo on Saturday.

Announcing almost $60 million in extra funding to help country communities survive during the drought, Mr Morrison met with Kevin and Robyn West to talk about how the drought is impacting them.

"I got a call on Wednesday asking me if a visit was possible and from there it just came together," Mr West said when asked how the Prime Minister ended up on his property.

"The drought's been going for so long... 2016 was the last time we had a wet season, we haven't had crops since then.

"It's gonna be a tough winter."

READ MORE: Election campaign goes bush on drought support, ag shows

Mr West, who runs a mixed farming operation consisting of sheep, cattle and cereal crops, said he welcomed the federal government's commitment to increased drought relief but wanted to see it made easier to access.

FAMILY FARMING: Trent and Kevin West with Jessica and Jake Josephs. Kevin's grandchildren Larrisa and Jordan West, and Darcy Josephs were also on hand to welcome the Prime Minister. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

FAMILY FARMING: Trent and Kevin West with Jessica and Jake Josephs. Kevin's grandchildren Larrisa and Jordan West, and Darcy Josephs were also on hand to welcome the Prime Minister. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

"The Farm Household Assistance program [which offers cash assistance to farmers] is a shambles, the process is too long and I got rejected for it.

"There's too many questions.

"It should be [administered] through the Rural Assistance Authority, not Centrelink."

If the Liberals and Nationals win the May 18 federal election, the Farm Household Allowance will be made permanently more accessible to more farmers with up to $5 million worth of assets.

LISTENING AND LEARNING: Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, Parkes MP Mark Coulton, Kevin West and Prime Minister Scott Morrison discuss the impacts of drought. Photo: BELINDA TOOLE

LISTENING AND LEARNING: Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, Parkes MP Mark Coulton, Kevin West and Prime Minister Scott Morrison discuss the impacts of drought. Photo: BELINDA TOOLE

The allowance will also be made available to farmers for four in every 10 years.

More counsellors for small businesses battling drought will also be employed, a measure Mr West's son Trent has welcomed.

He operates a mechanical business in Dubbo and employs five staff.

"The whole town becomes affected during drought," he said.

"We see farmers aren't able to get their maintenance done due to lack of cash flow."

Mr West's daughter Jessica Josephs said the drought has caused a lot of stress.

"It's a big mental health strain," she said.

The Prime Minister was joined at the West's property by Nationals MP Mark Coulton, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Agriculture Minister David Littleproud.

They fed hay to cattle from the back of a ute, then watched as two sheep were clippered before answering media questions.

Mr Coulton said he was pleased to see the Parkes electorate in the spotlight as major national policy announcements were made.

"Of the announcements made today I am particularly pleased about a new restocking and replanting concession loan and a small business support program, as well as further improvements to the Farm Household Allowance."

THUMBS UP DUBBO: Prime Minister Scott Morrison celebrates doing a good job shearing the sheep and hopes voters will celebrate more of his work on election day. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

THUMBS UP DUBBO: Prime Minister Scott Morrison celebrates doing a good job shearing the sheep and hopes voters will celebrate more of his work on election day. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

"There's a quid to be made out of agriculture when it rains again and it will rain," Mr Littleproud said.

"We're gonna help these people through this."

Mr Morrison attended the 104th annual Gilganda Show later in the morning before departing the region to continue campaigning.

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