Expanded NSW Drought Assistance Package

Expanded NSW Drought Assistance Package

28 March 2014

Deputy NSW Premier Andrew Stoner and Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson have announced additional assistance measures for drought stricken farmers in NSW in attempt to help landholders and communities deal with the crisis.

The measures include the expansion of a temporary package of emergency in-drought support measures to an additional 20 local government areas including – Armidale, Bogan, Central Darling, Cobar, Coonamble, Gilgandra, Glen Innes, Gunnedah, Guyra, Gwydir, Inverell, Moree Plains, Narrabri, Tamworth Regional, Tenterfield, Uralla, Walcha, Warren and Warrumbungle as well as Broken Hill and the far west Unincorporated area.

The measures, to be back-dated to 1 January 2014 for all LGAs – with the exception of the Transport Assistance Reimbursement for Bourke, Brewarrina and Walgett LGAs which is back-dated to 1 July 2013 – include:

  • Up to $20,000 per producer in the form of a Transport Assistance Reimbursement;
  • Up to $30,000 per producer for Emergency Water Infrastructure Grants; and
  • The waiving of the Western Lands Lease Payments, Local Land Service Rates and Wild Dog Destruction Board rates for a 12-month period, where applicable.

The expanded emergency assistance measures are in addition to assistance the NSW Government has made available to all NSW landholders which includes:

  • Transport subsidies for animal welfare, focused on stock going to sale or slaughter where there is significant risk to animal welfare, which will remain while drought conditions persist; and
  • Increased funding for the Rural Support Worker Program.

For more information visit the NSW Department of Primary Industries and the NSW Rural Assistance Authority.

PM announces increased federal assistance, but with few details

Recently, the Prime Minister, the Hon. Tony Abbott MP, and the Minister for Agriculture, the Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP, announced a $320 million comprehensive drought support package offering financial, social and mental health support to farming families, farm businesses and rural communities suffering from drought.  

The announcement, which included few details in regard to eligibility or the application process, outlined five key measures:

  • More generous criteria for accessing income support via the Interim Farm Household Allowance (replacing the Transitional Farm Family payment) available to farm families from 1 March 2014. The payment offers help for farm families experiencing financial hardship to meet basic household needs and improve the family’s long term financial security. To be eligible, the applicant must be a farmer, meet income and assets tests, and be prepared to be case managed by a Rural Financial Counsellor or Centrelink officer.  Fortnightly payments range from $510.50 (single) to $921.80 (couple, combined).  For more information visit the Department of Human Services website, or call 13 23 16.
  • Concessional loans totalling $280 million for debt restructuring, operating expenses and drought recovery activities. These changes allow 50 percent of debt to be refinanced to a cap of $1 million with a 4 percent interest rate, for a five year term. The eligibility criteria for these loans has not been released as yet.
  • Additional $12 million for the emergency water infrastructure schemes.
  • $10 million in assistance available for pest management.
  • $10.7 million to help increase access to social and mental health services. 

We will provide further information over the coming weeks as more detail is made available.

Boyce is here to help

For more information about your eligibility for any of the above assistance measures please speak to your local Boyce accountant.  We can help guide you through the maze of how to access the assistance and assist you to complete application forms where necessary.

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