From Monday, farmers doing it tough in and around Durack can apply for government assistance as part of a new $320 million comprehensive drought support package. Federal Member for Durack Melissa Price welcomed Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce’s announcement today that greater support will be made available for farm businesses, families and communities across Australia.
“Farming is a very significant part of our community and it plays a critical role in our regional communities and local economy,” Ms Price said.
Minister Joyce said the assistance package is designed to help those experiencing hardship right now, and to help them recover when the current drought ends.
“We understand farm businesses and farm families across Australia are suffering financially and emotionally because of the prolonged drought.
“As a result, the Australian Government will extend concessional loans to eligible drought affected farm businesses; provide funds for water infrastructure and pest eradication; as well as funds for counselling support services for farmers.”
As part of the package:
- More generous criteria for accessing income support will be made available to farmers from 3 March 2014 instead of 1 July 2014.
- Drought Concessional Loans totalling $280 million will be allocated to give eligible farm businesses the resources to recover from the effects of drought.
- $10 million in assistance will be available for pest management in drought affected areas.
- $10.7 million will help increase access to social and mental health services in communities affected by this drought.
“I encourage farmers in and around Durack who believe they may be eligible, to talk to a rural financial counsellor to check their availability,” Ms Price said.
“The final details regarding the administration of the drought assistance package will still need to be finalised by the State Government.”
In the meantime, to learn more about eligibility criteria, phone the Drought and Farmer Assistance Hotline on 13 23 16.
For more information on the drought support package or other assistance available, visit http://www.daff.gov.au/agriculture-food/drought/assistance/drought-support-farmers-fact-sheet