Increased federal government drought support welcomed by NSW Farmers

NSW Farmers’ Association welcomes the federal government’s additional financial support of $190 million to help drought affected farmers.

The changes to the Farm Household Allowance will see additional payments of $12,000 for farming couples and $7,200 for individual farmers battling drought, and will mean that farmers and their families will be better supported to cover their everyday costs and reduce some of the pressures they face in managing their farms and feeding their families.

President of NSW Farmers’ Association, James Jackson, said the Association is pleased that a key issue raised with the Government - that the assets test was too low and disqualified many farmers in real need- has been addressed in this announcement.

“The value of land and the costs of operating machinery have risen significantly in recent years and this has placed on-farm total asset value above the current threshold. A level that has not changed in the last four years.

“We also welcome the increased funding for The Rural Financial Councillor network. They are not financial advisers, they are local people with sound financial knowledge who can work closely with individual farmers to help them work through their options and make applications for any of the State or Australian Government initiatives and concessional loans.

“We would also like farmers to be aware that the Rural Financial Councillors’ services come at no cost to them,” Mr Jackson said.

Until it rains, the physical and emotional pressures will mount as farmers continue to make difficult decisions. The increased funding to support mental wellbeing and improved access to general health will help to maintain strength and resilience in local communities.

NSW Farmers urges both levels of Government to make sure that local communities also have affordable access to emergency services and local doctors to monitor and address health matters to reduce the potential for these issues to escalate.

“We look forward to sitting down and working with the government on more targeted drought measures,” Mr Jackson concluded.

Date: Monday 6 August 2018
Media Contact:   Kathleen Curry  |  Public Affairs Director | 0429 011 690