Drought-affected communities and farmers will get an immediate cash injection, with the Federal Government promising a new $100 million drought relief package.
The package will include a $33 million commitment to resuming the Drought Community Support Initiative, which provides cash-strapped farmers, contractors, and families with emergency payments of up to $3,000.
The drought relief assistance will also include $1 million payments to 13 additional local government areas to spend on water infrastructure upgrades, mental health support and other projects deemed necessary.
The Local Government Authorities to receive these funds include the Western Downs in Queensland, Temora in New South Wales, Coorong in South Australia and Swan Hill in Victoria.
The Government will also commit $51.5 million to simplify and extend the Farm Household Allowance (FHA), which is paid out at the Newstart rate to eligible farmers.
The Government has already made changes to simplify the FHA application process, but the Federal Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie described today's changes as a "radical simplification" of the "application process and key settings".
"We will remove the requirement for business income reconciliation, change the time limit on payment from four years in total to four out of every ten years, simplify the assets test, recognise agistment as being part of primary production income, and redesign the application process," she said.
"For the first time, couples will be able to apply for the payment using just one application."
NSW Emergency Drought Relief Package 2019-20
In June 2019 the NSW Government announced additional drought assistance measures for farmers including a $350 million increase in the Farm Innovation Fund and $70 million to continue rebates on the Drought Transport Subsidy.
- The NSW Government has committed $1 billion to the Farm Innovation Fund under the Emergency Drought Relief Package 2019-20. From 1 July 2019, farmers can borrow up to a maximum of $1 million per project, with a total of $1,000,000 outstanding at any one time to build on-farm infrastructure, including stock containment areas. In addition, interest charges on Farm Innovation Fund loans for the 2019-20 financial year will be also be waived.
- The Emergency Drought Relief Package 2019-20 also includes $70 million for Drought Transport Subsidies. The subsidy can be applied to the cost of transporting; fodder, water to a property for stock or domestic use, stock to and from agistment, stock to sale or slaughter. For applications received from 1 July 2019, the subsidy also includes transporting of farm chemicals, fertiliser, and seed to farms.
- The On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate scheme is available to eligible primary producers who can claim a rebate of 25% of the cost for; new purchases, installation of pipes, water storages and water pumps, de-silting dams, and associated power supplies such as generators. This rebate scheme can be applied to costs incurred from 1 July 2018. The maximum that can be claimed is $25,000 per farm enterprise. The availability of rebates is subject to funds being available. No rebates will be offered beyond the allocated funding of $12 million.
Ask one of our specialist agribusiness advisers today about the Farm Innovation Fund, Farm Household Allowance, the On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate scheme, and Drought Transport Subsidies.