THE State government has expanded its $14.6 million emergency drought assistance package to include the Gloucester Shire.
Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner and Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson announced the drought relief measures would be back-dated to February 1.
The measures include up to $20,000 per producer in the form of a transport assistance reimbursement; up to $30,000 per producer for emergency water infrastructure grants; and the waiving of Local Land Services rates and Wild Dog Destruction Board rates for a 12-month period, where applicable.
Mr Stoner said expansion of the measures has been made based upon the expert advice of the independent Regional Assistance Advisory Committee (RAAC).
“This government understands that the extreme effects of drought are not confined within lines on maps and that adverse conditions are gripping the majority of the State,” he said.
“We are listening to the recommendations of the RAAC and other regional agencies and are well aware of the financial pressures and emotional stress our farmers are facing in this drought crisis.
“While the current spell of wet weather in many parts of the State has come as a welcome reprieve to our primary producers, it is still not enough, and we have acted to ensure they remain supported.”
Ms Hodgkinson said while much of NSW has received welcome rainfall during the last few weeks, RAAC and Local Land Services continues to closely monitor seasonal conditions and provide regular advice and recommendations to the NSW government.
“This drought has had disastrous impacts on rural and regional communities in NSW and in many cases it will take years to recover,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
“Agriculture is one of the pillars of the NSW economy, which is why the NSW Liberals and Nationals have put in place a range of comprehensive measures to assist primary producers, both in dealing with this current event and to prepare for future droughts.”