This year has been a tough one for regional NSW, Deputy Premier John Barilaro says, with the devastating bushfires taking their toll and the economic fallout from COVID-19, all while we still sit firmly in the shadow of the worst drought in recorded history. But throughout all of this, the NSW Nationals have remained unwavering in our support of regional communities and have continued to fight tooth and nail to ensure regional NSW gets our fair share.

Through hard work and perseverance, the NSW Nationals have secured more than $4 billion into drought and water support programs.

We are getting on with building dams, and we are on track to have shovels in the ground for our $1 billion state significant dam projects.

We have announced $245 million to commence Stage 1 of the upgrade of the Wyangala Dam in the Central West, Dungowan Dam near Tamworth and investigations into a third dam on the Mole River, in the state’s North West.

We owe it to the future generations of our agricultural and regional communities to act now and deliver these critical water infrastructure projects.

We are also announcing as part of our drought package, $310 million in emergency drought relief funding in recognition of the ongoing severe drought conditions.

Support available to drought affected communities and farmers will include;

  • $116 million to continue providing the Drought Transport subsidy
  • $99 million to continue waiving Local Land Services rates, bee site permits, Western Lands lease rent, wild dog fence rates and provide assistance for vehicle registration costs for eligible primary producers
  • $28.5 million to continue existing water licence fee waivers for stock, domestic, general and high security water users

The drought has taken its toll on even the toughest workers in regional communities, which is why this latest drought package also includes funding to extend critical mental health support measures.

This funding will enable continuation of health and wellbeing programs, including the Farmgate Counselors program, Aboriginal wellbeing services and Royal Flying Doctors Far West Drought Support programs.

Shoulder to the wheel

I would like to thank Water Minister Melinda Pavey, Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall and Mental Health Minister Bronnie Taylor for the hard work they have done in making sure this money reaches those areas of regional NSW that need it most.

I also want to commend each and every one of my NSW Nationals colleagues for the work they continue to do in advocating for their local communities.

The reality is, without the NSW Nationals in Government, those areas outside of Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong would be forgotten.

For a full list of drought support measures, go to: www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/droughthub and www.nsw.gov.au/drought-in-nsw.

John Barilaro
Leader of the NSW Nationals
Deputy Premier of NSW