The NSW Government will invest $1.7 billion in the 2019-20 NSW Budget to build stronger, sustainable and productive regional industries across the State, including $355 million to extend critical drought assistance measures for farmers and rural communities.

Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW Adam Marshall said the cornerstone of the Budget was $170 million for the Drought Stimulus Package and $185 million in on-farm Emergency Drought Relief measures including continuing transport cost rebates and waiving annual land rates, on top of an additional $350 million towards the Farm Innovation Fund, which will provide concessional loans to farmers to improve on-farm infrastructure.

“This drought has been far more prolonged and severe than anyone could ever have imagined and that’s why we’re delivering more than $700 million in the Budget to help our primary producers with on-farm measures through the drought,” Mr Marshall said.

“This Budget supports regional industries and communities with a key aim of assisting farmers during the present drought crisis.”

Primary producers will also benefit from a $3.4 million investment to start the process of extending the Wild Dog Exclusion Fence as well as $24.4 million towards delivering three new Doppler radars in Western NSW.

The extension of the Wild Dog Fence will help prevent wild dogs from entering NSW and disrupting farming operations while the Doppler radars will provide real time rainfall data and wind observations to 34 Local Government areas.

Mr Marshall said the Budget was also focused on strengthening primary industries into the future through research and development partnerships aimed at enhancing the sector’s productivity and profitability.

“We have the very best primary producers here in NSW but I want to ensure we retain our competitive edge when it comes to innovation, profitability and productivity,” Mr Marshall said.

“That’s why the NSW Government will invest more than $15 million to build on partnerships with groups like GRDC, CSIRO and the University of New England to develop new R&D capacity and help keep our primary producers world leading.

“This Budget is all about supporting our primary producers through drought and ensuring they are in a position to bounce back and thrive when it inevitably breaks.”