The NSW Government has announced a further $750 million in funding to support farmers and rural communities battling worsening drought conditions across regional NSW.
Today’s announcement of an extra $355 million is in addition to the $400 million committed during the March election campaign.
By the Numbers:
Under today’s announcement, $170 million in Budget funding will go towards fast-track regional infrastructure projects allowing them to start on the 1st of July.
In additional $535 million in Budget funding will go towards on-farm drought support measures, including:
$70 million for transport subsidies (stock, fodder and water)
$50 million to waive Local Land Services rates
$30 million to waive fixed charges for NSW Water Licences
$15 million for emergency water carting
$350 million boost to the Farm Innovation Fund
$10 million to waive interest charges for Farm Innovation Fund loans.
What’s new in this package?
No new paperwork for people who have already accessed drought assistance
Farm Innovation Fund loans increased from up to $500,000 to $1 million
No minimum or maximum distance caps on transport subsidy claims
Extension to the loan term of the Drought Assistance Fund and expanding the purpose of the loan to include activities that promote profitability and resilience
Breakdown of New Drought Assistance Package:
Boosting the Farm Innovation Fund - $350 million
Delivering on the NSW Government’s promise to top up the Farm Innovation Fund (FIF) by $350 million.
The Fund provides low-interest loans of up to $1 million for infrastructure projects that improve on-farm resilience and help farmers manage the impacts of drought.
Examples of eligible projects include the construction of fodder storage facilities (e.g. silos, hay sheds), containment lots and de-silting of water storage.
All existing FIF customers and applicants who submit an application before 30 June 2020 will have interest charges for FY2019-20 waived.
There are also $50,000 interest free loans available which can be spent on any farm productivity measure, including the purchase of essential items, like folder, water or farming equipment.
Reducing fees and charges - $100 million
Reducing government charges for farmers to reduce cost of living pressure and help those facing cash flow issues due to the extended nature of the drought.
Includes waiving Local Land Services (LLS) rates ($50 million), fixed water charges and bore licence fees in rural and regional areas ($30 million), waiving FIF interest fees ($10 million) as well as apiary and wild dog border fence fees ($10 million).
Transport subsidies - $70 million
Subsidies to assist landholders to transport stock, fodder and water.
The NSW Government will offer a transport subsidy of up to $40,000 per eligible farm business. The subsidy can cover 50% of the full cost of freight up to a maximum of $5 per kilometre (+GST).
This would assist a cattle farmer in Dubbo, for example, to purchase a truck-load of hay from outside Bordertown, South Australia.
Emergency water carting - $15 million
Emergency relief is available to Local Water Utilities towards the cost of water carting or water supply works during periods of emergency.
For further information about NSW Government drought support
measures, visit www.droughthub.nsw.gov.au