Smiles for streamlined apps

Farmers react to latest drought package


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Not having to start another application a big win.

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Vicki, Ben and Barry Langtry in front of their new fodder shed, built from funds accessed through the NSW government's Farm Innovation Fund.

Vicki, Ben and Barry Langtry in front of their new fodder shed, built from funds accessed through the NSW government's Farm Innovation Fund.

Farmers have welcomed the simplification of drought assistance applications, announced in the state government's latest drought package.

Ben, Vicki and Barry Langtry run a cropping, sheep and cattle property at Marrar and watched the Premier's drought funding announcement in nearby Coolamon.

Mrs Langtry said they had trouble applying for assistance during the last drought.

"The paperwork was horrific, it got to be too much to fill it in, you got to the stage where you couldn't be bothered," Mrs Langtry said.

In the current drought the Langtrys applied to the Farm Innovation Fund for a loan that allowed them to build a $40,000 shed to store fodder.

"This latest one was so easy, anyone could do it," Mrs Langtry said.

Ben Langtry welcomed the most recent announcement that people will no longer have to start an entire new application if they were applying for a second assistance package or loan.

"We know plenty of people who have said the paperwork's too much," Mr Langtry said.

"But I would encourage them to have a go and now once you're in the system you don't need to do it again."

We're still not entirely happy but we've got some streamlining... - NSW Farmers President, James Jackson

NSW Farmers president, James Jackson, said they had been lobbying the government to simplify their applications for some time.

"We're still not entirely happy but we've got some streamlining for the process of applying and reapplying for packages," Mr Jackson said.

He said NSW Farmers was pleased with the package overall, which also recognised the impact of drought on rural economies through infrastructure programs.

He said the $45 million being spent on water infrastructure was crucial.

"There are a number of communities where it's five minutes to midnight so water supplies for those communities is a good spend," he said.

While waiving the charges for services such as Local Land Services and fixed NSW Water licence fees would give immediate relief to farmers struggling.

"Waiving the water charges was needed because it's pretty stiff being charged for water that you don't get, with no allocations available," he said.

"The Local Land Services fee waive was also important because when you're not making money every bill that comes in is dragging down on the overdraft."

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