NSW Government is delivering a new $310 million drought assistance package to ensure ongoing support for farmers battling drought while delivering new initiatives to assist those entering the early stages of recovery.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall announced the commencement of the new drought assistance package which includes key changes to better support primary producers looking to restock or sow.
The changes include lifting the cap for the Drought Assistance Fund (DAF) to $100,000 per eligible primary producer and extending the Drought Transport Subsidy to cover the cost of transport for restocking.
"It is undisputed that our farmers in regional NSW have battled through unprecedented droughts, floods, bushfires and now COVID-19 and whilst they are resilient, their ability to weather this compounding storm is becoming harder and harder," Mr Barilaro said.
"That is why this government has sought to deliver drought assistance that provides ongoing support to farmers still battling drought, while helping to accelerate recovery for producers who have seen conditions improve.
"Increasing the cap of the DAF by $50,000 for this financial year paves the way for primary producers, who were approaching the threshold, to continue vital works that will improve the sustainability and profitability of their businesses, such as restocking."
Mr Marshall said the expansion of these support packages would help farmers who are in a position to look towards drought recovery.
"Anyone who thinks the drought is over has rocks in their head, hence why we have put additional cash on the table to continue to support our State's farmers and also help those who are on the road to recovery," Mr Marshall said.
"Many of the State's farmers are now emerging from drought conditions, and many more will come spring, and these changes to our support package create more flexibility, allowing that road to recovery to be much shorter," Mr Marshall said.
"This boost means primary producers can now use the DTS to help cover the costs of transporting livestock for restocking purposes.
"It is going to take years for farmers to get back on their feet, but as conditions change so too do our support measures to ensure they are as effective as possible.
"At the same time, let's not forget that more than 85 per cent of the state is still in drought, so for those yet to receive good rain, we are continuing to support you and we'll help you get through this."
Combined, more than 21,586 applications have been approved since 2018 through the DAF and DTS, which has provided more than $300 million in support..
Under the DAF, farmers can access up to $100,000 for any activity that promotes on-farm profitability, including restocking.
Under the DTS eligible farmers can access subsidies to cover the cost of transport of fodder, water and stock and other farm inputs, like chemical or seed. A pro rata rate of $25,000 per primary producer will apply to the DTS, which will expire at the end of the year.
To find out more about the eligibility criteria and how to apply, visit the RAA website https://www.raa.nsw.gov.au/ or call 1800 678 593.