Greater ac­cess to drought sup­port

The Free Press (Corowa) - - FRONT PAGE -

The NSW Gov­ern­ment has an­nounced it is mak­ing it eas­ier for farm­ers and their fam­i­lies to ac­cess the Drought Trans­port Sub­si­dies and the Drought As­sis­tance Fund by re­lax­ing the gross off-farm as­set test.

Mem­ber for Al­bury, Greg Aplin said the cur­rent cri­te­ria is be­ing lifted from $1 mil­lion off-farm as­sets to $5 mil­lion, which means more farm­ers will now be el­i­gi­ble to ac­cess drought as­sis­tance.

“This change ac­knowl­edges the ef­forts of farm­ers who have di­ver­si­fied their as­sets, but un­der­stand­ably still need help dur­ing these tough times,” Mr Aplin said.

“I am pleased to be part of a gov­ern­ment that stands with our farm­ers and con­tin­ues to as­sess its drought relief pack­age to en­sure we are de­liv­er­ing the right sup­port at the right time.”

Mr Aplin said cri­te­ria for ‘new en­trants’ have also been cre­ated within the gov­ern­ment’s drought as­sis­tance guide­lines to sup­port farm­ers who are new the in­dus­try.

“New en­trants, in­clud­ing many young farm­ers, will now have greater ac­cess to gov­ern­ment as­sis­tance which will be par­tic­u­larly ben­e­fi­cial as they es­tab­lish their busi­nesses,” he said.

In ad­di­tion to amend­ing the ac­cess cri­te­ria, Mr Aplin said the gov­ern­ment is also mak­ing it eas­ier for farm­ers to get help com­plet­ing and sub­mit­ting drought sup­port ap­pli­ca­tions, with Lo­cal Land Ser­vices of­fices now pro­vid­ing this as­sis­tance.

“Farm­ers in the re­gion can now visit their Lo­cal Land Ser­vices of­fice for as­sis­tance with pre­par­ing and sub­mit­ting their ap­pli­ca­tions for drought sup­port,” Mr Aplin said.

“In ad­di­tion, the Ru­ral As­sis­tance Author­ity (RAA) is now open un­til 10 pm week­nights, al­low­ing farm­ers who have been out in the pad­docks all day a greater op­por­tu­nity to seek sup­port.

“These changes will en­sure farm­ers can ac­cess the sup­port they need and re­ceive their sub­sidy pay­ments as quickly as pos­si­ble.”

Depart­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries (DPI) re­search sta­tions and 37 Ser­vice NSW of­fices can also pro­vide as­sis­tance to com­plete drought sup­port ap­pli­ca­tions. To find a lo­cal ser­vice cen­tre, visit https://www.dpi.nsw.gov. au/cli­mate-and-emer­gen­cies/droughthub/ drought-as­sis­tance/as­sis­tance-near-you.

The NSW Gov­ern­ment Emer­gency Drought Relief pack­age pro­vides more than $1 bil­lion in drought relief mea­sures, for more in­for­ma­tion visit www.droughthub.nsw.gov.au

Nearly 200 fire ex­tin­guish­ers were found il­le­gally dumped near Ruther­glen.

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