Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

With seasonal conditions worsening across the region and many parts of country NSW quickly sliding into drought, Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has called on the State Government to immediately initiate drought support measures to assist farmers and rural communities.

All of the Northern Tablelands is currently rated by NSW DPI as drought affected, with two parishes in both the Walcha and Glen Innes Severn LGA’s officially in drought.

Mr Marshall said memories of the worst drought in living memory, several years ago, were still raw for the region’s primary producers and now was the time for government to assure them they will be supported if the big dry returns.

“Conditions are worsening quickly, some areas are already officially in drought and the outlook looks bleak, but we are still yet to hear anything from the government, nor the Agriculture Minister, about what support will be available to farmers and rural communities,” Mr Marshall said.

“During the last drought, more than $2.4 billion was provided via subsidies and rebates to farmers and rural communities to help them sustain their businesses and keep going.

“At this time of great stress and worry, government must step up and announce what they will do to provide certainty and comfort to the rural sector, should the bleak forecasts come to reality.”

Mr Marshall placed a motion on Parliament’s notice paper today acknowledging the worsening conditions across rural and regional NSW and calling on the government to act immediately.

“Farmers want some reassurance from their state government that they will be supported if severe drought returns,” Mr Marshall said.

“They want to see the government immediately reinstate drought transport subsidies, which allows farmers to claim back some of the costs associated with the transport of vital fodder to keep stock alive, as well as the popular water infrastructure rebates.

“More low-interest loans, via the Farm Innovation Fund, is not the answer when drought bites – the rural sector requires direct rebates and subsidies to help sustain agricultural production.

“The time for government to act is right now, not after the whole State has tumbled into another devastating drought and farmers are going out the back door.”

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