Federal drought loan guidelines welcomed

NSW Farmers today welcomed finalisation of the guidelines for the Federal Government’s drought concessional loans scheme.

However, the association said it was disappointed the $320 million package, which was announced back in February, to address the drought in NSW had got tied up in bureaucratic red tape which had kept farmers waiting for so long.

NSW Farmers President Fiona Simson said the drought was currently affecting 57 percent of NSW with farmers working through some of the toughest climatic conditions for more than 60 years.

“To their credit our farmers have been preparing and managing through the drought for more than 12 months,” she said.

“But to have the loans scheme tied up for so many months while the details and guidelines were worked out does not help farmers who are already under extreme stress.

“I hope that now that the NSW Government has got the guidelines from the federal government that it will administer the funds to farmers in need as soon as possible.”

In the meantime, Ms Simson said that there was a lot of work to be done to address drought relief responses at a state and federal government level in the future.

“It is important that we see a drought policy framework that focuses on preparedness for future droughts, but that also recognises that in-event and recovery support is sometimes warranted.

“The current lack of federal government policy on drought is not good for farmers, the government or the broader community. It creates uncertainty and this does not help the competitiveness of our agricultural industry.

“NSW Farmers will continue to work with National Farmers Federation, the state and federal government on this critical industry issue for agriculture,” Ms Simson concluded.

ends

5 June 2014 

 

Contact: Amy Beasley

Phone: 1300 794 000

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