NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has today revealed details of an extensive suite of innovative drought preparedness measures for primary producers in throughout the New England North West region
Mr Marshall said the new five-year NSW Drought Strategy included more than $300 million in assistance measures, which would help farmers to be better prepared for and manage future droughts.
“This is fantastic news for our local farmers, from Armidale and Uralla in the east to Moree and Mungindi in the west, who are all too familiar with the hardships of drought,” he said.
“Our farmers are the lifeblood of our communities –and we all know that a dollar in a farmer’s pocket is a dollar that will flow through to the small businesses that underpin our rural and regional towns.
“Without a strong and viable farming sector, the social fabric of our rural and regional communities gets unpicked. This strategy will help secure that future.
“While much of the Northern Tablelands has recently been experiencing some good falls of rain, we all know how tough it’s been over the last year and how quickly drought can return.
Mr Marshall said the new strategy would enable farmers to be better prepared for future droughts – to help them to upskill, get their books in order and to install fodder sheds, pipelines, troughs and the fencing they need to manage these events.
“It will also ensure, during the next drought, our rural and regional communities have the support services they need available – and funding, to help with the transport of livestock at risk of animal welfare and also the movement of donated fodder,” he said.
“It will also give our farmers access to the best available weather information.
“I know how terrible drought can be in here – that’s why I fought so hard on behalf of those on the land for the first and then the second round of assistance and a much more comprehensive package like this one to be introduced.
The NSW Drought Package delivers a range of new measures under three key areas:
Supporting farmers to prepare for and manage drought:
- $250 million over five years to continue the popular Farm Innovation Fund.
- $45 million over five years for vocation training and farm business planning.
- $2.5 million to work with the Bureau of meteorology to develop an enhanced network of weather stations across the State.
- $5 million over five years to provide transport assistance for animal welfare and donated fodder within NSW.
- Ongoing investment in research and development programs through the Department of Primary Industries – building on breakthroughs in drought resistant crops and water efficiency
Committing to a transparent and accountable system of drought assistance:
- NSW drought assistance measures will be reviewed by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal.
- Develop a structured framework of triggers and guiding principles to coordinate whole-of-government drought response measures, which will be developed in consultation with industry and published to ensure transparency.
Helping our primary producers and regional communities build resilience
- $5 million over five years has been allocated to reinstate the Rural Support Worker Program on an as-needed basis, and continue the permanent Rural Resilience Program.
The NSW Government will also work with the Commonwealth Government and farming communities to encourage the development of a commercial multi-peril insurance sector for our cropping sector.
For more information, visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au