FARMER FUNDING: Farmers on the Northern Rivers will be able to apply for drought assistance thanks to a state government $500 drought assistance package.
FARMER FUNDING: Farmers on the Northern Rivers will be able to apply for drought assistance thanks to a state government $500 drought assistance package. Stuart Quinn

$500 million drought package to help Northern Rivers farmers

FARMERS located between Lismore and Tenterfield who are impacted by the drought can now apply for assistance from the NSW Government's $500 million Emergency Drought Relief Package.

The NSW Rural Assistance Authority will begin processing applications from Monday August 6.

Member for Lismore Thomas George said the $500 million package was part of the Government's $1 billion drought support.

He said the news would be greatly appreciated by those on the land whom he said were relay struggling.

"The Northern Rivers is entrenched in the drought and I know farmers and producers of all commodities will appreciate this funding," he said.

"All areas west of Lismore are impacted and I know in Tenterfield the farmers will welcome the news as will offer them support which until now has not been available."

Mr George said the latest announcement will be backdated to the beginning of the year.

He said with 99 per cent of the state now in drought and farmers facing one of the driest winters on record, this package was essential not just for our farmers but the continued productivity of our regional communities.

Mr George said the severity of the drought across the state has resulted in failing crops, drastic water shortages and a diminishing supply of fodder to sustain livestock.

"A major feature of this package is the introduction of transport subsidies, this measure recognises the fact that in many areas people have been forced to cart fodder because the local supply is drying up," Mr George said.

"The package will include applying emergency funding, waivers on Local Land Services annual rates, fixed charges on water licences, registration costs for class 1 agricultural vehicles and interest for existing Farm Innovation Fund loans.

"I still encourage people to access the Drought Assistance Loans which have now totalled more than $14 million in applications," Mr George said.

The Government will also allocate an additional $150 million to the Farm Innovation Fund, reflecting significant uptake by farmers across the State.

For more information visit www.droughthub.nsw.gov.au.



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