Measures welcomed but drought not acknowledged

NSW Farmers today welcomed the Federal Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce’s recognition of drought in NSW and his decision to provide extra measures to support farmers dealing with it in the state’s north west.

President of NSW Farmers Fiona Simson said his announcement to increase Farm Finance funding by $10 million this financial year to NSW for concessional loan funds to farmers in areas of greatest need was welcomed.

Ms Simson said she was also pleased Minister Joyce was talking with the NSW Government about its intentions to make available $3 million to assist farm businesses with water based infrastructure like the Queensland Government had done.

“It is critical the NSW Government urgently engages with industry to design a water infrastructure package that will assist farmers to increase water efficiency and upgrade water delivery infrastructure,” she said.

Minister Joyce’s announcement follows one last week by the NSW Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson.

However, NSW Farmers said many of the state government’s measures would not provide any direct relief because they were focussed on preparedness measures when parts of the state were already in drought.

Ms Simson said our farmers at Brewarrina, Bourke and Walgett who have been experiencing dry conditions for 18 months are already in drought.

“What they are telling us is they need urgent interim assistance now with transport and fodder subsidies and low interest loans and that they need them now just like Queensland,” she said.

“These farmers and communities are hurting now and every extra day compounds their situation.

“Despite preparing for drought by storing grain and fodder and making proactive management decisions around the selling of stock or putting in watering systems, sometimes there is just nothing that can be done to completely drought proof a farm,” she concluded.

Contact: Veneta Chapple

Phone: 0429 990 218

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