Increasing the Farm Innovation Fund and drought support for farming businesses.

The Nationals in Government will add a further $350 million to the highly-successful Farm Innovation Fund helping more farmers access cash to drought-proof their farms.

We will also expand the Drought Assistance Program to ease the financial strain felt by farmers in NSW. This will take the Farm Innovation Fund to $1 billion and our total drought support package to nearly $1.5 billion.

We know our farmers are among the most innovative in the world and that accessing cash is hard, particularly in times of drought. That’s why we will increase the Farm Innovation Fund to $1 billion and increase the loan amount from $250,000 to $1 million per farming business.

We will also simplify the application process, allowing farmers to apply for loans more than once a year and allow for farming cooperatives to apply for shared-infrastructure.

The NSW Nationals will also ramp up our existing Drought Assistance Package to:
• provide an additional $5 million for emergency water supplies to ensure towns have access to safe and reliable water
• increase the amount farmers can claim on drought transport subsidies from $30,000 to $40,000
• provide an additional $2 million for mental health through the Rural Resilience Program

The NSW Nationals know it is crucial to support farmers as they continue to improve their businesses, even during adverse conditions.

The Farm Innovation Fund will continue to back farmers to be more resilient and better prepared the next time. These changes will help drought-proof NSW properties, improve permanent farm infrastructure and ensure the long-term productivity of NSW.

We have seen an incredible take-up of the Farm Innovation Fund so far.

The Farm Innovation Fund has already helped more than 1,700 farmers across NSW drought-proof their properties, funding important capital works such as new cattle yards, solar power systems, silos or bore water systems.

The Nationals in Government will:

• Boost the Farm Innovation Fund from $650 million to $1 billion.
• Increase the loan amount per farmer from $250,000 to $1 million.
• Provide an additional $5 million for emergency water supplies to ensure towns have access to safe and reliable water.
• Increase the amount farmers can claim on drought transport subsidies from $30,000 to $40,000.
• Provide an additional $2 million for mental health through the Rural Resilience Program.