The Nationals in Government have committed even more money to drought relief, taking the total committed to $1.8 billion.
Federal Nationals Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the national drought assistance package now included additional funding for local infrastructure in drought-affected areas, new tax breaks for farmers, the appointment of a National Drought Coordinator and low-interest loans.
This is on top of more than $1.3 billion in drought relief secured by the Nationals in Government in NSW.
The Australian Government will double the amount farmers can borrow in low-interest loans to $2 million and simplify the application form for Farm Household Allowance.
“The Nationals in Government stand shoulder to shoulder with our farmers to ensure they can survive the severe and widespread drought that has affected so many,” Mr McCormack said. “Our farmers are the backbone of the nation, providing the produce all Australians rely on. Just as the drought evolves so must our policies; there is no place for ‘set and forget’. We will continue to engage with farmers to ensure our drought response meets their needs.”
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said these measures were about moving beyond “here and now” needs to future preparedness.
“The measures we are now announcing are about the future, about preparedness and the resilience of our agriculture sector into the future,” Mr Littleproud said. “[We’re working] to identify those pipes, those dams, that we can help to build the resilience, to build a future for agriculture, the sustainability of agriculture, and the productivity and profitability of agriculture.”
A $75 million package from the Australian Government was also announced, with $1 million in grants funding on the table for drought-affected Local Government Areas, providing flexibility to choose projects that will have the biggest impact, such as repairs and maintenance, upgrading or building new community facilities, holding events and undertaking drought-relief activities, and carting potable water into communities for drinking and bathing. The following councils in NSW are eligible for the funding:
- Broken Hill
- Central Darling
- Glen Innes Severn Shire
- Liverpool Plains
- Moree Plains
- Upper Hunter