Deputy Premier returns to Tamworth and Upper Hunter to meet with drought-affected farmers
Mr Barilaro said the latest additions to the package are quite extensive, and he wanted to be able to discuss the measures first-hand with landholders, especially those who had provided input prior to the recent announcement.
“The message I am providing to farmers is quite simple; when you spoke, you were heard, and we are still listening,” Mr Barilaro said.
“As Leader of the NSW Nationals and as Minister for Regional NSW it’s my job to turn up at Macquarie St and be the voice of regional NSW, ruffle some feathers if I have to, to get results.
“Having now increased our total drought relief package to $1 billion, it was important for me to return to sit own again with some of the farmers in Tamworth and Scone that I met with earlier in the year.
“We want to ensure we continue to do whatever we can to assist people on the land who are doing it tough, which is why we will continue to make our way around the state and get direct feedback from landholders,” Mr Barilaro said.
Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said communities across the North West are experiencing some of the driest conditions on record, which is why he believes it is beneficial to continue bringing the Deputy Premier back to the region to meet with local farmers.
“This is a great opportunity for my community to have direct access to the Deputy Premier. They want to be able to tell their story and I encourage them to do so,” Mr Anderson said.
Member for Upper Hunter Michael Johnsen said Scone has been one of the worst drought affected areas in the State, however the newest additions to the Emergency Drought Relief Package will provide much needed assistance to locals struggling on the land.
“It’s no secret this drought is hitting us hard, but with ongoing and increasing support from the government, along with the generous support from the broader community, we will continue to ensure our farmers are getting the help they need,” Mr Johnsen said.
With 99 per cent of the State now in drought, the NSW Government has this week announced further support with a $500 million Emergency Drought Relief Package, taking the NSW Liberals & Nationals total drought support to more than $1 billion.
The three major elements of the $500 million Emergency Drought Relief Package are:
• Approximately $190 million for Drought Transport Subsidies
• Approximately $100 million for cutting the cost of farming fees and charges – by waiving Local Land Services rates, waiving fixed water charges in rural and regional areas, and waiving class one agricultural vehicle registration costs, among other initiatives, and;
• $150 million to bolster the Farm Innovation Fund (FIF) infrastructure program;
The package also includes funding for:
• Counselling and mental health;
• Critical services in regional communities including transporting water and drought related road upgrades and repairs; and
• Animal welfare and stock disposal.
The NSW Rural Assistance Authority will begin processing applications from Monday August 6. For more information on the NSW Government’s emergency drought relief package visit www.droughthub.nsw.gov.au