Another round of drought support will help invigorate communities in the Parkes electorate as drought conditions continue, according to Member for Parkes Mark Coulton.
Mr Coulton has welcomed the package announced today, which will deliver an extra $709 million in direct support.
“Today’s announcement clearly shows that this Government understands it isn’t just farmers doing it tough during the drought,” Mr Coulton said.
“This package includes making new and existing drought loans for farmers interest free for two years, to lessen the burden on their operation.
“It also includes support for small businesses dependent on agriculture with loans worth up to $500,000.
“As I travel throughout the electorate, I have heard from shearing contractors, harvest contractors, livestock transport providers and others, who are feeling the effects of the drought too.
“This package is a direct response to those concerns.”
Mr Coulton said more funding will be committed under the Drought Communities Programme (DCP).
“I’m thrilled that another $1 million each will be available to councils in my electorate,” he said.
“I’ve seen the results being delivered in rural and regional communities through the DCP, and this extra money will mean councils can keep investing in projects that will boost the local economy.”
$10 million has also been committed to support schools facing financial hardship as a result of ongoing drought conditions, with a further $5 million to help assist child care centres experienced decreased demand due to families from drought-affected areas being unable to pay for child care.
“From small communities to primary producers, this Government continues to get behind communities to take the pressure off this extreme drought.”
Further information on the support available for drought-affected farms and communities and how to access it is at agriculture.gov.au/drought
Summary of Federal Government support
|Existing support||New support|
|Looking after our farming families here and now|
|· Simplified and expanded access to the Farm Household Allowance and extended it to a 4 in 10 year payment. Households are eligible for around $105,000 as well as an additional payment of $13,000 for couples
· $3,000 cash payments for families under the Drought Communities Support Initiative
· Built the National Drought Map so all data and support services are in one place
· Invested $25 million to help our farmers combat pests and weeds; $2.7 million to improve regional weather and climate guides; and $77.2 million for Bureau of Meteorology radars
· $2 billion available in concessional loans through the Regional Investment Corporation to help farmers and small businesses prepare for, manage through and recover from drought
· $5 million for the Rural Financial Counselling Service
|· Making new and existing drought loans for farmers interest free for two years so they purchase fodder, pay for freight and pay their farm hands. Years three to five will be interest only payment and years six to 10 will be interest and principal. Current scheme is the first five years are interest only payments, and interest and principal payments for the balance of the loan term
· A new program for small businesses dependent on agriculture with loans worth up to $500,000 that can be used to pay staff, buy equipment and refinance. It follows the same new payment scheme as the Drought Loans for farmers
· $10 million to support schools facing financial hardship as a result of ongoing drought conditions, including fee concessions for boarding students
· $5 million from the Community Child Care Fund will help assist centres that are experiencing decreased demand and financial pressure due to families from drought-affected areas being unable to pay for child care
|Supporting jobs and investment in local communities|
|· $1 million for 122 councils and shires in drought-affected areas to invest in projects that support jobs and business income
· $30 million for targeted mental health support
· $50 million funding for major charities to assist rural Australians in desperate need with up to $3,000 in individual support payments
|· An additional $1 million for each of the 122 drought-affected councils and shires if they need it
· $1 million each for new drought-affected councils and shires including Greater Hume, Hilltops, Lockhart and Upper Lachlan in NSW, and Kangaroo Island and Tatiara in SA
· $50 million discretionary fund to support projects in Local Government Areas impacted by the drought
· Redirecting $200 million into a Building Better Regions Fund drought round to support new projects that deliver social and economic benefits to drought-affected communities
· $138.9 million additional Roads to Recovery funding in calendar year 2020 for the 128 Local Government Areas eligible for the Drought Communities Programme Extension
|Long term resilience|
|· Future Drought Fund worth $5 billion to be a sustainable source of funding to improve drought resilience and preparedness
· $1.5 billion for 21 dams, irrigation projects and pipelines across Australia
|· 100 gigalitres of water that will be used to grow up to 120,000 tonnes of fodder as well as silage and pasture to secure supplies for the months ahead.|