This season has been one of the driest winters on record and has had a significant impact on our farmers. We have seen failing crops, drastic water shortages, and a diminishing supply of fodder to sustain livestock, making for dire conditions in our regions.
I was pleased to recently announce a further $500 million in drought assistance, tipping the support and funding for our farmers to over $1 billion. Listening to those on the ground, it is evident that the drought has had a significant impact on the wellbeing of individuals and communities as a whole.
Farmers have been forced to look elsewhere for fodder and source it from interstate to sustain livestock, taking on the financial burdens of transportation costs which cannot be sustained. To ease this burden, approximately $190 million has been allocated for the introduction of Drought Transport, with up to $20,000 per farm business that can be claimed.
The emergency funding will include waivers on Local Land Services annual rates, fixed charges on water licences, registration costs of class one agricultural vehicles and interest on existing Farm Innovation Fund loans.
The package as a whole has been designed to be fair and equitable, and able to be adapted to a range of circumstances and farming businesses right across NSW. Each part aims to provide relief to farming families across NSW who have been doing it tough with deteriorating conditions.
Severe droughts can take a big toll on farmers and their families, as well as the broader community. Listening to the needs of those affected, I believe that this additional funding will go a long way in supporting regional communities and farming families through this difficult period.
If you have any questions on the drought assistance package, or any other topic please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.