Drought dollars welcomed but new approach needed

The Federal Government’s announcement of a further $100 million boost to its already $7 billion assistance package was welcomed by farmers currently managing drought.

“While drought is a feature of the Australian landscape and farmers are well practiced at managing dry times, for some, these are unprecedented times,” NFF CEO Tony Mahar said.

 “Parts of Queensland have been in drought for seven years and the Murray Darling Basin has recorded it’s driest period on record.”

With the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting below average summer rainfall, NSW Farmers Vice President and Cowra farmer Chris Groves said any help was welcome.

“The thing we must remember is this situation is ongoing, for our farming families and for our regional communities.”

Tony Mahar particularly welcomed Friday’s changes to the Farm Household Allowance that reduce the administrative burden of applying. 

The strain on farming families of continuing to run a farming business, keeping food on the table and supporting children cannot be underestimated.

NFF CEO Tony Mahar said.

The NFF also welcomed the Government’s extension of the Drought Community Programme, providing $1 million to 13 Local Governments of Shires worst affected by drought.

Mr Mahar said that the NFF was currently completing a national drought policy, and called on all levels of government, industry and community groups to rethink their approach to drought.

“We need a comprehensive and enduring national approach to drought that focusses on preparedness and resilience measures. We need an approach that mandates the assessment of the effectiveness of drought measures and allows for improvements when measures fall short.  

“It’s absolutely crucial that we have a coordinated approach that ensures all voices are heard and that the responsibility of managing drought is shared across government, industry and community.”

Shelby Garnett

Shelby Garnett

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