Published: Thu, August 09, 2018
Sci-tech | By Brandy Patterson

Farmers have mixed reaction to Government's drought package

Farmers have mixed reaction to Government's drought package

THE Federal Government's emergency drought support package announced earlier today has been enthusiastically welcomed by producer bodies at state and federal level.

The Turnbull government will be giving out lump-sum payments through the Farm Household Allowance.

This is a special payment in recognition of the severity of the drought.

A truck stirs up dust on a road behind a dam on farmer May McKeown's drought-affected property located on the outskirts of the northwestern New South Wales town of Walgett in Australia, July 19, 2018.

The cash payments help form a drought relief package of 190 million Australian dollars (140.6 million USA dollars) for the dry spell that has cut across large parts of the country's east and south including New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. Federal assistance, apart from the basic unemployment payment, has been offered on the basis of loans rather than subsidies or cash payments.

But Mr Turnbull said the package was a supplement to the Farm Household Allowance, a fortnightly payment for eligible farmers totalling about $16,000 a year. Previously the cut-off was $2.6 million.

"What that will do is provide additional cash in this coming year.

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We have their back", Mr Turnbull said.

"We can't make it rain".

"It's vital that we help farmers and families that are dealing with the stress and pressures drought brings", Simson said in a statement on August 5.

"My great-grandfather settled on this land in 1901, and he never had to remove cattle from the paddocks over there", she says pointing to the west.

The PM said Australia's global emissions reductions targets will help farmers.

. "But we have had to remove them all and bring them closer to the homestead so we can more easily feed them".

Until it rains, the physical and emotional pressures will mount as farmers continue to make hard decisions.

The farm has made little income in recent years and when they run out of hay in a few months, rising hay prices will leave them in a financial situation her family has never had to contend with in more than a 100 years, she says.

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Severe droughts are affecting several states across the nation.

Wheat growers across northern NSW and southern Queensland are facing their fourth year without a crop.

This increase will give farming families.

Turnbull also paid tribute to farmers for their resilience. "When farmers do it well the whole nation benefits, when farmers do it tough, as they are now the whole nation suffers", he said during the press conference.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has forecast still drier conditions and says there is no end in sight to the drought.

National Farmers' Federation chief executive officer Tony Mahar said the Government's support was a step in the right direction, but added there was no silver bullet.

His comments come as Agriculture Minister David Littleproud was slammed for claiming a connection between man-made climate change and the drought was a "big call".

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"A lot of farmers, we're using that a week", farmer Anto White from Belltrees in the Upper Hunter tells me.

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