Push for federal funds for farmers in need

FEDERAL Lyne MP David Gillespie has added his voice to those calling for drought assistance measures to be extended to the Gloucester Shire.

Speaking with federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce last week, Dr Gillespie said one of the key discussion points had been the lack of rain in the region.

“As I have travelled around our electorate in recent weeks, particularly in the south and around Gloucester, and to the west into the hinterland, it is quite clear that if we don’t get some decent rain soon this is going to have a significant impact on our local farming sector,” he said.

Dr Gillespie said the farm hardship, rural and drought assistance measures delivered by both State and federal governments had been complex in the past.

“While fodder transport, emergency water grant and other subsidies are provided at the State level, I am delighted that the Prime Minister and the Agriculture Minister are moving to bring forward the federal Farm Household Allowance with a number of important changes aimed at improving eligibility for farmers doing it particularly tough,” he said.

Last Wednesday NSW Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson announced drought assistance for 20 local government areas including the adjoining shires of Scone and Walcha. 

A drought assessment of Gloucester has been completed with a report due to go to the Regional Assistance Authority within days.

Upper Hunter MP George Souris said the shires of Liverpool Plains, Upper Hunter, Gloucester and Merriwa were all suffering from the extended period of dry gripping the State.

“These places experiencing some of the worst periods of drought we have seen in over a decade,” he said.

“I realise farmers know this but the seasonal conditions assessments are based on rainfall data, relative soil moisture, pasture and fodder availability, water availability and evaporation rates.”

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