Drought assistance a big win for WA farmers

Federal Member for Durack Melissa Price has welcomed the Commonwealth Government and Western Australian State Government’s combined approach to rolling out last week’s announcement by the Prime Minister of a $280 million drought assistance package, as a priority.

“It is important that as many Western Australian farm businesses as possible are able to access the Federal Government’s drought assistance package,” Ms Price said.

“Although this has been funded by the Federal Government, the scheme will be administered by the State Government. This will be in accordance with the criteria negotiated with the Commonwealth, which will be important in ensuring this funding is effectively delivered to those in need.

“I have been encouraging Western Australian Minister for Agriculture and Food, Hon Ken Baston MLC to reassess the criteria for the Concessional Loans Scheme, to enable more farmers to apply for the $50 million Federal Government funding that is available.

“It is important to note that the Abbott led Government’s $280 million Drought Concessional Loans is a separate scheme with different eligibility criteria.”

Ms Price said loans of up to $1 million, or up to 50 per cent of eligible debt, whichever is lower, will be made available at a variable rate, starting at 4 per cent, for a term of up to five years.

“More generous criteria for accessing income support will also be made available to farmers from 3 March 2014 instead of 1 July 2014,” Ms Price said.

“I encourage all Durack farm businesses that are doing it tough due to the decrease in seasonal rainfall to seek advice about their eligibility rather than self-assessing.”

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