The State’s toughest drought on record continues to bite with farmers and rural communities bearing the brunt of the crisis.
While some regions have experienced rain during the past few months, 97 per cent of the state remains in drought, and the seasonal outlook remains bleak with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting drier than average conditions.
That is why the NSW Liberals & Nationals in Government have today announced an Emergency Drought Relief package, bringing the total funding to more than $1.8 billion across the state, to further support farmers and regional communities.
Liberal Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman said the additional support will assist local farmers and businesses, including on-farm measures such as transport subsidies and waiving land rates, and off-farm measures to boost the local economy and support the community.
“The Liberals & Nationals understand the effect this drought is having on regional economies, communities and families,” Mrs Tuckerman said.
“The extension of the Emergency Drought Relief package means more assistance for primary producers, more infrastructure to provide safe and secure water supplies, and investments aimed at stimulating the local economy.
“The social and economic viability of rural and regional communities in Goulburn remains my priority. We are all in this together.”
The extended drought assistance measures for 2019/20 include:
- $185 million for on-farm Emergency Drought Relief Package support measures including transport cost rebates for fodder, stock and water and the waiving of annual land rates
- $36 million in funds to support rural and regional communities including mental health, sporting grants, money for pre-schools and skilled pathway opportunities
- $55 million in the Emergency Drought Relief Package for water infrastructure projects, emergency water carting, improving town drinking water, reducing water wastage and rebates for water licences.
The NSW Liberals & Nationals in Government have also established a $170 million Drought Infrastructure and Stimulus Package for regional communities.
Mrs Tuckerman said these off-farm measures help mitigate against the ripple effect; the long-term impact that stressful situations like drought can have on our communities.
“I understand that it’s not just the farmers who are struggling – this drought is hurting our local businesses and communities – and as your local MP, I am determined to make sure nobody gets left behind,” Mrs Tuckerman said.
“It’s also why we are also investing $8 million in funding to improve access to and delivery of mental health services in our community because we know the effects of the drought can extend much further than infrastructure or a dollar figure.”
For more detail on available drought support measures, visit www.droughthub.nsw.gov.au