Glen Innes stock and station agent Shad Bailey, left, chatting with Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall and Deputy Premier John Barilaro recently.
Thursday, 18 July 2019
AS one of the worst dry periods in living memory continues on the Northern Tablelands local State MP and NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall has announced the State Government will spend $2 million to spearhead a campaign to establish a nation-wide income protection scheme to safeguard farmers from the financial impacts of future droughts.
Mr Marshall and Deputy Premier John Barilaro made the announcement today at the Daily Telegraph drought summit in Dubbo.
Mr Marshall said the NSW Government had set aside $2 million to partner with the National Farmers Federation to develop a nation-wide income protection insurance scheme for all farmers, no matter what they produce.
“The best drought assistance measure a government can deliver is to help the agricultural industry to self-insure,” Mr Marshall said.
“It’s by no means a silver bullet for drought, but it will be a critical additional tool farmers can have in their kitbag to deal with the ravages of drought.
“As this drought rolls on it’s obvious we need to be looking at ways to roll out a product that would cover all producers – whether croppers, graziers or horticulturalists – against the devastating loss of income that comes with drought and other natural events.
“This is something that has been called for by the agricultural sector for a very long time but so far insurance products have largely been constrained to individual production sectors within the industry.
“What we’re looking at here is something completely new: a national scheme that all farmers, regardless of what they grow and the size of their operation, can buy into and be permanently covered by.
“We’re putting money on the table and are determined to get this up and running. The Commonwealth and all other State Governments need to get involved and back this in too.
“I’m proud of the $1.8 billion drought package the NSW Government currently has on the table but my big fear is whoever is in government when the next drought hits, will not be in the same financial position as this government and able provide the same level of support.”
Mr Barilaro said: “We’re starting with a blank canvass here in terms of what a potential scheme could look like and that’s why it’s important all parties come together and work collaboratively to design a scheme that genuinely benefits farmers.
“The NSW Liberals & Nationals in Government have already committed $1.8 billion to drought assistance measures but we need to be looking forward to the next dry spell and thinking of innovative ways to help reduce its sting.”
The NSW Government will investigate potential risk mitigation models that could be used to protect farm incomes during times of drought or other hardship, such as natural disasters. The project will involve looking at other comparable models in overseas jurisdictions as well as the best way to deliver the product across Australia.