Farmers push for better drought assistance measures

NSW Farmers has urged the state Minister for Primary Industries to ensure the new national package of drought programs delivers better outcomes than the existing one.

Federal, state and territory agriculture ministers meet on Friday to finalise a drought package prior to implementation on July 1, 2014.

NSW Farmers' president Fiona Simson said the meeting was a golden opportunity for state and territory ministers to stand up for rural Australia and put in place a package to assist farmers manage extreme weather conditions such as severe or long-term drought.

"While we have had constructive discussions with governments on household income support, we are disappointed business support is not attracting the same interest," she said.

"Business support forms an important part of any drought policy and we want state, territory and federal governments to commit to further investigation of business support options.

"NSW Farmers fully supports a package that helps farmers be prepared and self-reliant, and we want to see improvements made to the drought package around farm management deposits, skills and training, investment in tools and technologies and social support measures."

Ms Simson said current drought measures had played a vital role in helping rural families and businesses through the recent drought.

She commended the government for taking a proactive approach to drought policy since the country was declared drought free for the first time in more than a decade earlier this year.

"However, with the dry conditions being faced by many farmers at present, the challenge for governments is to design a policy that delivers better outcomes than the existing one," she said.

"Farm businesses need a package that will ensure their sustainability in times of extreme conditions so that they can get back on their feet as soon as possible and produce the food and fibre our nation and overseas markets depend upon."

Topics:  drought drought assistance exceptional circumstances fiona simson nsw farmers

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