Understanding Drought Subsidies

Understanding Drought Subsidies

23 August 2018

As the drought continues across New South Wales, both the State and Federal Governments have announced a number of funding packages and support for farmers. At this stage there have been no support announcements in relation to non-farm business owners impacted by the drought.

We recognise the drought impacts everyone differently, and that in many cases the subsidies will only be a token amount of support. We also appreciate that not everyone will be eligible, nor wanting to claim the support available.

If you have looked into the funding and support available, you will appreciate the challenges in understanding the support available, the eligibility criteria, and the application processes. The Boyce team have researched the details of support currently available and are well placed to assist you in determining whether you are eligible and in the best type of assistance to suit your individual circumstances.

Rather than list all the available support, we wanted to draw your attention to one particular subsidy, which we believe should be considered by all livestock producers.

The NSW Rural Assistance Authority’s Transport Subsidy provides funding for transporting stock to agistment, returning stock from agistment, transporting stock to sale or slaughter, transporting fodder for stock to properties and transporting stock drinking water.

  • A subsidy of up to 50% of the total freight cost is available to eligible primary producers up to a maximum of $5 per kilometre (plus GST) and to a maximum distance of 1,500 kilometres.
  • The maximum amount available under the program is $30,000 over an 18-month period, backdated from 1 January 2018.
  • One key point of differentiation with this subsidy is that it is not just for use with transport contractor costs, but owner-carriers are eligible too. The guidelines can be found here.

Note that there are several eligibility criteria to pass, with the income and asset tests being:

  • The owners and operators of the business must earn more than 50% of their gross income from the primary production enterprise under normal seasonal conditions.
  • The owners and operators of the business must not have gross off-farm assets exceeding $1,000,000 (excluding funds in a registered superannuation fund).

The Transport Subsidy, in contrast with other forms of assistance, has no income limit for total income, and no asset test for the gross assets of the farm.

In terms of information resources, we have found the NSW DroughtHub website to be helpful. The National Farmers Federation have also compiled a list of drought assistance options available at a national level, which can be viewed on their website.

Note that just last weekend, the Federal Government announced further available support, however, this is currently not legislated and there are no details of when it will take effect, so further information will be provided once it is available.

Given the magnitude of the drought and the far-reaching impacts we expect further announcements and packages over the coming months.  We will continue to research and understand these as they occur and provide updates of relevant information as it becomes available.  We look forward to assisting you through this challenging time.

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