News

Extra drought package extends to small business

By Corowa Free Press

The extra drought package and the inclusion of a water deal for fodder producers will help farmers, businesses and communities in rural and regional NSW struggling with the effects of drought NSW Nationals Senator, Perin Davey said. 

The Federal government announced further support for drought-affected communities last week, bringing the total value of its drought response initiatives to more than $1 billion since the 2019 federal election. 

“Being based in Deniliquin and regularly travelling throughout our regional communities, I know first-hand what our communities are going through and the devastating impact the drought is having on those living, working, farming and doing business in the bush,” she said. 

“It is absolutely critical that the government continues to review its drought relief package and the suite of measures announced today demonstrates our genuine and ongoing commitment to supporting our drought-affected communities. 

“I took the example of a Hillston agronomist who had no income but couldn’t access drought support to the party room and I am so pleased that we are now extending our loans program to small agricultural businesses, as well as further funding for infrastructure projects and road upgrades in drought-impacted communities, which will help stimulate economy activity in those communities.” 

Senator Davey said a key pillar in last week’s announcement is an agreement between the federal and South Australian governments which will see 100 gigalitres of water made available to farmers at a reduced rate, so that they can grow fodder, silage and pasture. 

“Since my election to the Senate, I have worked closely with the Riverina-Murray’s other federal representatives, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack (who visited the local region early this month) and Environment Minister Sussan Ley, as well as northern Victorians MPs, Dr Anne Webster and Damian Drum, to secure more water for our farmers,” she said. 

“I am so pleased that our combined efforts have resulted in this offering which will enable the production of fodder that will contribute to the feed-stock for other drought hit farmers. 

“The Adelaide desalination plant has never been fully utilised. Under the current devastating conditions across the east, it is high time it was put to use and I am pleased the federal and South Australian governments have been able to reach a win-win agreement, whereby the federal government will pay the costs associated with increasing production at the desalination plant so that our irrigators can access the water they so desperately need.” 

Further information on the support available for drought-affected farms and communities and how to access it is available at http://www.agriculture.gov.au/drought/.