Ad­di­tional drought sup­port wel­come

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - On The Land -

NSW Farm­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion is pleased to see the fed­eral gov­ern­ment an­nounc­ing ad­di­tional fund­ing and new ini­tia­tives as part of its drought sup­port pack­age for farm­ers and re­gional com­mu­ni­ties.

The ma­jor­ity of last week’s $250 mil­lion an­nounce­ment is made up of low-in­ter­est loans aimed at en­cour­ag­ing farm­ers to in­vest in on­farm in­fra­struc­ture to im­prove stor­age fa­cil­i­ties such as si­los and hay sheds, as well as new tax­a­tion mea­sures al­low­ing farm­ers to claim costs of ex­pand­ing fod­der stor­age after one year, in­stead of hav­ing to wait three years. The ad­di­tional pack­age in­cludes: An in­crease in low in­ter­est loans from $1 mil­lion to $2 mil­lion per farm­ing en­ter­prise to im­prove feed stor­age in­fra­struc­ture through the Re­gional In­vest­ment Cor­po­ra­tion.

Ac­cel­er­ated de­pre­ci­a­tion pro­vi­sions for fod­der in­fra­struc­ture that will al­low farm­ers to claim tax write offs after one year in­stead of three.

$155 mil­lion for lo­cal gov­ern­ment projects in­clud­ing $1 mil­lion each to 36 Coun­cils across NSW

$72 mil­lion for a spe­cial drought round of the Na­tional Wa­ter In­fra­struc­ture De­vel­op­ment Fund.

$37 mil­lion for new bores across the south­east re­gion of the Great Arte­sian Basin;

$2.7 mil­lion for en­hanced long term weather fore­cast­ing.

Ad­di­tional staffing to fast track Farm House­hold Al­lowance ap­pli­ca­tions.

Pres­i­dent of NSW Farm­ers’ James Jack­son said the an­nounce­ment recog­nises the chal­lenges farm­ers face ac­cess­ing wa­ter and fod­der.

“It is good to see that the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment will un­der­write lo­cal coun­cils to pro­vide ac­cess to wa­ter, which a num­ber have al­ready com­menced in re­sponse to NSW Farm­ers’ lo­cal ad­vo­cacy,” Jack­son said.

“The in­crease from $1mil­lion to $2mil­lion for low in­ter­est loans will help farm­ers to in­crease on-farm in­fra­struc­ture to store the grain and fod­der gen­er­ously pro­vided through com­mu­nity ap­peals.

“How­ever, while low in­ter­est loans are help­ful, there is a limit to the amount of debt that farm busi­nesses can carry and still be in a vi­able po­si­tion to fund the costs of re­stock­ing and re­plant­ing when the drought breaks.

“NSW Farm­ers calls on the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment to de­fer both loan in­ter­est and prin­ci­ple re­pay­ments un­til it rains, as has been an­nounced by the NSW Gov­ern­ment for loans un­der the Farm In­no­va­tion Fund.

“All mea­sures that recog­nise farm­ers are busi­ness peo­ple are wel­come. Most are man­ag­ing cash flows with costs out­weigh­ing re­ceipts, and the ac­cel­er­ated de­pre­ci­a­tion will be of help.

“It is hoped that the ad­di­tional fund­ing for lo­cal gov­ern­ment wa­ter projects, the drilling of bores, and the $72 mil­lion for the Na­tional Wa­ter In­fra­struc­ture Fund will also pro­vide much needed sup­port for lo­cal em­ploy­ment and re­gional busi­nesses who are also fac­ing chal­leng­ing times.

“The ad­di­tional fund­ing for long term fore­cast­ing will be of ben­e­fit, but un­til it rains, farm­ers will con­tinue to fo­cus on main­tain­ing the wel­fare of their core breed­ing stock and en­sur­ing there is ad­e­quate mois­ture to main­tain plant­ing and hor­ti­cul­ture ac­tiv­i­ties,” Mr Jack­son con­cluded.

The new fed­eral gov­ern­ment drought as­sis­tance in­cludes an in­crease low in­ter­est loans from $1 mil­lion to $2 mil­lion per farm­ing en­ter­prise to im­prove feed stor­age in­fra­struc­ture. Crop and live­stock farmer Wayne Dun­ford loads a feeder with grain feed for sheep at Lyn­ton Sta­tion west of Parkes last Mon­day, Au­gust 13. New South Wales has been de­clared 100% drought af­fected. Photo AAP.

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