Drought assistance to continue for Hilltops farmers

Barmedman farmer John Minogue and Steph Cooke MP. Photo taken before social distancing measures.
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Farmers across the Hilltops region will continue to receive drought assistance with a $310 million boost to the NSW Government’s Emergency Drought Relief Package.

The boost to the package includes $116 million to continue the Drought Transport subsidy, $99 million to continue waiving of Local Land Services rates, bee site permits, Western Lands lease rent, wild dog fence rates and provide assistance for vehicle registration costs for eligible primary producers and $28.5 million to continue existing water licence fee waivers for stock, domestic, general and high security water users. Health and wellbeing programs, including the Farmgate Counsellors program, Aboriginal wellbeing services and Royal Flying Doctors Far West Drought Support programs will also be continuing.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said that this crucial funding will ease the financial burden on regional communities caused by the drought. “My message to everyone in the Cootamundra electorate is that you have not been forgotten and I am determined to continue supporting our regional communities until the drought is well and truly behind us,” Ms Cooke said.

“This funding boost provides the certainty our communities, small businesses and farmers need to make important stock and business decisions this winter.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said renewing current support measures will go a long way to supporting drought affected communities in the Cootamundra electorate to get back on their feet. “I’m all too aware that some of the drought affected communities in the Cootamundra electorate feel like they have been forgotten due to the bushfires and COVID-19 and that rain in recent months may have left some people in the city with the impression that the drought is over,” Mr Barilaro said.

“The rain has helped and conditions are easing but we haven’t quite reached the recovery stage yet, which is why the NSW Government is again extending these emergency drought measures, taking our total investment to more than $2 billion, to help farmers through winter.”

Primary producers and small businesses already receiving support payments, subsidies, waivers and fee relief from the Emergency Drought Relief Package do not have to reapply.

For a full list of drought support measures, go to: www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/droughthub and www.nsw.gov.au/drought-in-nsw

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