DROUGHT FUNDING: New drought funding from the NSW and Federal governments has been announced.
DROUGHT FUNDING: New drought funding from the NSW and Federal governments has been announced. iStock

Less red tape and more drought assistance for farmers

FARMERS doing it tough now have access to a new support package that delivers nearly $100 million to drought-hit communities.

This is on top of more than $7 billion in drought support funding already provided by the federal government.

Member for Page Kevin Hogan said the latest package will deliver an immediate stimulus at the local level as well as jobs for people whose work has been impacted by this prolonged drought.

"Under the Drought Communities Programme Extension, Kyogle Council will have access to up to $1 million to complete local infrastructure and drought-relief projects," he said.

"Farming households can also receive up to $3,000 to spend in their local communities to cover urgent bills such as food, petrol and utilities, taking stress off families and boosting the local economy."

Mr Hogan said the economic effects of the drought go beyond the farm and impact regional communities as businesses suffer as people spend less in towns.

He said the government is working with the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul Society to make sure this money hits the ground quickly and gets to those most in need.

FHA applications will streamlined to remove business income reconciliation, change the time limit on payment to four years in every 10, simplify the assets test and recognise agistment.

The announcement is in addition to over $7 billion worth of assistance to help support drought-affected farmers and communities and includes the $3.9 billion Future Drought Fund, which will continue to grow to $5 billion.

And preschools and long day-care services in the Lismore electorate will receive a much-needed funding boost, thanks to the NSW Government's Preschool Drought Relief program.

Nationals Member of the Legislative Council Ben Franklin, said 17 education centres in the area will be eligible to submit an 'expression of interest' to receive additional drought relief funding, which can be used to reduce fees, implement transport initiatives, staff training and environmental adjustments.

From September 2019, community and mobile preschools and long day care services in areas classified as "Intense Drought", "Drought" and "Drought Affected" can submit their expressions of interest.

Following the expressions of interest, funding will be allocated to services based on their size and level of drought intensity.

Information and to apply for assistance visit http://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought or call 1800 900 090.