Local News

Further state funding for drought relief in the Upper Hunter


Today further funding has been announced for drought relief. 

The NSW Government has boosted their emergency Drought Relief Package by another $276 million today for on-farm support, support for rural and regional communities and for water infrastructure. 

Upper Hunter MP and Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture Michael Johnsen made the announcement in Scone today with New England MP Barnaby Joyce. 

Michael Johnsen said the State’s toughest drought on record continues to bite with farmers and rural communities bearing the brunt of the crisis.

“While some regions have experienced rain during the past few months, 97 per cent of the state remains in drought, and the seasonal outlook remains bleak with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting drier than average conditions,” Michael Johnsen said.

“That is why the NSW Nationals in Government have today announced an Emergency Drought Relief package, bringing the total funding to more than $1.8 billion across the state, to further support farmers and regional communities."

“This additional support will assist our local farmers and businesses, including on-farm measures such as transport subsidies and waiving land rates, and off-farm measures to boost the local economy and support the community,"

“The extension of the Emergency Drought Relief package means more assistance for primary producers, more infrastructure to provide safe and secure water supplies, and investments aimed at stimulating the local economy."

“The social and economic viability of rural and regional communities in Upper Hunter remains my priority. We are all in this together.”

The extended drought assistance measures for 2019/20 include:
- $185 million for on-farm Emergency Drought Relief Package support measures including transport cost rebates for fodder, stock and water and the waiving of
annual land rates
- $36 million in funds to support rural and regional communities including mental health, sporting grants, money for pre-schools and skilled pathway opportunities
- $55 million in the Emergency Drought Relief Package for water infrastructure projects, emergency water carting, improving town drinking water, reducing water
wastage and rebates for water licences.

The Nationals in Government have also established a $170 million Drought Infrastructure and Stimulus Package for regional communities.

Michael Johnsen added that these off-farm measures help mitigate against the ripple effect; the long-term impact that stressful situations like drought can have on our communities.

For more detail on available drought support measures, visit www.droughthub.nsw.gov.au 

Image credit: Patricia Taylor