The Morrison-McCormack Government is standing by our farmers and our rural and regional communities affected by drought.
Today we announce further measures worth $57.4 million to ensure our farmers, their families and communities get the support they need as the drought continues.
The Coalition has made drought a national priority. We are investing over $6.3 billion in drought support. This new suite of initiatives builds on our commitment to establish a $5 billion Future Drought Fund.
We will establish a new restocking and replanting concessional loan through the Regional Investment Corporation to make sure our farmers can bounce back when the rains come. Loans of up to $200,000 will be available with a two year interest free period and no interest accrual.
This will help farm businesses immediately rebuild and restore their business following successive years of financial hardship brought about by harsh drought conditions.
We will progress the recommendations of the Farm Household Allowance (FHA) Review with the agricultural sector, including making the FHA available to farmers for four in every ten years. (Click here to down the FHA Review Report)
We will also make the $5 million farm asset threshold permanent so the FHA is even more accessible.
When our farmers are in drought, so are the small regional businesses that support them. If re-elected, we will deliver $7 million to establish a pilot rural financial counselling service to help small regional and rural businesses with financial planning, mentoring and coaching.
Around 45 specialist counsellors will be employed in rural communities around the country where drought is having a major impact on local small businesses.
We will also extend the Drought Communities Program to an additional 14 Councils that are facing severe drought. This brings our support to 110 Councils across NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania.
The Coalition’s drought plan is backed by a strong record of delivery including:
• $266.9 million provided to over 11,200 farmers in Farm Household Allowance fortnightly support payments.
• $40 million in additional FHA lump sum payments to about 6,400 farmers since September 2018.
• $77 million investment in the Rural Financial Counselling Service – 4,000 farming business are being assisted.
• $30 million to support more than 10,000 households in drought areas delivered in cash and vouchers through charities.
• $131 million for the Drought Communities Program to deliver local infrastructure and drought relief projects.
• $5 million provided to the CWA to support their drought efforts.
• $29.4 million in mental health support.
• $15 million for 48 projects to tackle wild dogs, pest animals and weeds in drought.
• $50 million for on-farm water infrastructure.
• $2.7 million for localised weather guides.
• A $72 million special drought round of the National Water Infrastructure Fund.
• $36.9 million for the Great Artesian Basin to implement a range of immediate and long-term capping and piping measures.
Only the Coalition is standing by our farmers and their communities through the drought. Labor has no plan for drought, no plan for agriculture, and no plan for rural and regional Australia.
This funding is only possible because of the Coalition’s strong management of the Budget.