NSW budget offers no relief for drought-stricken farmers

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Drought affected communities have been offered no relief by the Liberal and National Government, with the latest NSW budget completely omitting any new in-drought funding – leaving those farmers in the midst of drought on their own. 

The Government has also effectively cut the primary industries budget by $307 million – by underspending in three of the past four budgets.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Primary Industries Mick Veitch

“The Liberals and Nationals have their heads in the sand – this budget has no new drought assistance funding, despite intensifying calls for help from north-west NSW.”

“Behind closed doors, farmers and stakeholders have told me there is no strategic drought policy in place – the most commonly used description is “void” – and any available funding is not reaching those who need it the most.”

“All we see is this Government re-announce drought loans that many farmers can’t afford to take up lest they drown in debt.”

“The question must be asked: what do the Liberals and Nationals expect farmers in severe drought to do? In-drought assistance is needed now.”

“We have again seen the Government fail to reintroduce stock and fodder subsidies and transport subsidies for drought affected farmers, as Labor proposed at the election.”

“In Government, Labor did not prescribe drought funding for the year ahead because unlike the Liberals and Nationals, we believe assistance to farmers should be based on need, not on predetermined budget caps.”

“Niall Blair expects farmers to believe there’s no money available for in drought assistance – and yet he has $300 million of the primary industries budget left in the bank. The Minister must explain to farmers currently grappling with drought why they could not access some of that money.”