Drought coordinator welcomes relief measures

State Drought Coordinator Pip Job (far left) with Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE
State Drought Coordinator Pip Job (far left) with Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

State Drought Coordinator Pip Job says drought relief measures announced by the state government this week are “important business enablers”.

The Geurie resident has spent the last five weeks meeting with farmers across the state, seeing how drought impacts different locations, industries and businesses.

She relayed the information back to NSW government ministers, and joined Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair on Wednesday to announce the resulting relief measures.

“I think people will welcome them,” Ms Job said.

“There could be others that hope for more but it’s an ongoing process and … as things deepens in the drought we’ll constantly be looking and feeding that information for decisions.”

The measures include a $250 million boost to the Farm Innovation Fund, and changes to allow livestock farmers to access the fund ‘bio-bank’ the genetics of their herd that would otherwise be lost during destocking.

Wednesday’s announcement did not include the freight subsidies many had called for. Minister Blair defended the decision, saying subsidies would only drive up prices of freight, fodder or grain.

“Really it’s an important balance at this point in time,” Ms Job said.

“There’s farmers out there that are positioned well at the moment to be able to supply grain and fodder across NSW so there’s opportunities for everyone in drought as in good times.

“It’s a very sensitive balance about how do we look after everyone that's under stress.”