November 11, 2013
NSW Farmers welcomed a decision by the Standing Council on Primary Industries that it will develop an in-drought business support proposal for consideration as part of a new drought policy. Federal, state and territory agriculture ministers met today at a SCOPI meeting in New Zealand to finalise a framework for a drought package to be implemented from 1 July 2014. NSW Farmers’ President Fiona Simson said the association was concerned business support was going to be dismissed by the federal government. “However this outcome today shows that it has not been ruled out and will still be considered when the remainder of the package is finalised,” she said. Meanwhile, Ms Simson welcomed a commitment by ministers to a range of preparedness measures including Farm Management Deposits and taxation measures, farm business training, social support services and tools and technologies to inform farmer decision making. She said there is also a commitment for farm household income support to be made available at all times without the need for a drought declaration. “We are however disappointed additional measures called for by farming organisations such as expanding accelerated depreciation and new entrant support did not receive a mention in Minister Ludwig’s announcement,” she said. “There are still a lot of details to work out including the funding, thresholds, and accessibility for these programs, and along with National Farmers’ Federation, we want to work with our state and federal governments to ensure the new drought policy is in the best interest of farmers in NSW. “Australian farmers are some of the least supported in the world according to the OECD and farm businesses need a package that will ensure their sustainability in times of extreme conditions. “We can’t work on the package forever especially when 30 percent of NSW is already marginal in terms of drought conditions. We need to get something finalised to provide surety for farmers and we look forward to a speedy resolution on the detail,” Ms Simson.