THE entire state of NSW has now been declared in drought, new data from the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) shows.
Well below average rainfall has been received across the region this year and it has left many primary producers with failed crops, no feed for their stock and empty dams.
While, the entire state has been affected by drought, the DPI data shows 21.8 per cent of the state has been impacted by intense drought.
As conditions worsen, the NSW Government, however, has started processing drought transport subsidy applications through its $500 million NSW Emergency Drought Relief Package.
NSW Rural Assistance Authority (RAA) chief executive officer John Newcombe said applications for transport subsidies opened on Monday and more than 100 applications had been received within the first day.
“The NSW Government is offering a subsidy of up to $20,000 per eligible farm business per year, which equates up to $30,000 over 18 months from January 1, 2018 to June, 30 2019,” he said.
The subsidy is back-dated so farmers can apply it for freight expenses incurred since January 1, 2018.NSW Rural Assistance Authority chief executive officer John Newcombe
“The subsidy is back-dated so farmers can apply it for freight expenses incurred since January 1, 2018.
“It covers 50 per cent of the full cost of freight up to a maximum of $5 per kilometre and 1500 kilometres per journey.
“We currently have more than 50 staff following the recruitment of 22 extra officers to assist with processing drought related applications, meaning we are resourced to process subsidies as soon as possible.
“We know farmers are under a lot of stress at the moment and we want to make it as easy as possible for them to apply, so anyone needing help should contact RAA on 1800 678 593 or the Rural Financial Counselling Service on 1800 686 175.”
The new $500 million NSW Emergency Drought Relief Package, which takes the NSW Government’s total drought support to more than $1 billion, includes:
- $190 million for Drought Transport Subsidies
- $110 million to cut the cost of farming by waiving fees and charges
- $150 million to bolster the Farm Innovation Fund (FIF) infrastructure program
- Counselling and mental health
- Critical services in regional communities including transporting water and drought related road upgrades and repairs Animal welfare and stock disposal.
For more information on the NSW Government’s emergency drought relief package visit www.droughthub.nsw.gov.au.