Drought-stricken farmers will now have access to seven-year interest free loans $50,000 loans and other additional support under a boost in NSW Government’s drought relief fund.
The loans will allow farmers and producers to install water infrastructure, as well as sustain livestock by bringing in fodder and grain.
The preservation of livestock genetics, known as bio-banking, has also been added to the fund’s criteria. This allows farmers to preserve the genetics of herds that might be otherwise lost through the affects of drought.
These measures, known as the Farm Innovation Fund, also received $250 million in funding for farmers to apply for low interest loans.
A new kangaroo management plan is also set to roll out to reduce numbers in drought-affected areas of the state.
The move comes after months of mounting concern across the Riverina about the lack of rain.
Member for Murray Austin Evans welcomed the move, acknowledging some farmers were doing it tough.
“I welcome the money for programs that have seen a substantial take-up in the past,” he said.
“I’m glad to see they’re not going to run out of money. We’ll see how it all pans out.”
A $4 million mental health package also comes as part of the NSW Government’s 2018/19 budget.
It includes funding for 13 statewide coordinators working in country areas and support for the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said funding gave a little more security to farmers in the midst of a drought.
“We know the drought is hitting our farmers hard but we want to reassure communities that we are doing everything we can to make sure the right help is available at the right time,” Ms Berejiklian said