Do you know what drought assistance is available to landholders from the State and Federal Government? This week I am delving into the existing drought relief and newly released funding that should be of assistance to local landholders.
You have probably heard in the media this week that the Federal Government have released additional support through the Farm Household Allowance scheme, providing two lump sum payments of up to $6,000 each. Obviously, the value of these payments varies depending on individual family circumstances, with the highest payments going to families with children.
Households already receiving the Farm Household Allowance of up to $16,000 per year will receive the payments on September 1, 2018 and March 1, 2019. It is the intention that these funds will provide cash income to help put food on the table and cover basic expenses.
As part of these measures the cap that was previously set for assets under the Federal scheme has been raised from $2.6 million to $5 million. This change will make a significant difference to landholders who obviously need these assets to run their business. It doesn’t matter how many assets you have to run a property, if there is no rain to grow anything.
The new package will provide $190 million in relief measures and includes 11.4 million additional support for mental health services and community organisations. The Government express that this is phase one of the drought response.
The State Government added $284 million to the existing $300 million drought funding in June 2018. These funds were available to provide additional mental health support and infrastructure. The funds were also to make $50,000 seven-year interest free loans to producers to bring in fodder and grain and install key water infrastructure encouraging landholders to maintain breeding stock.
On July 30, 2018 a further $500 million was announced, through the provision of subsidies, with a focus on the Drought Transport Subsidies to cover up to 50% of the full cost of transporting fodder, water for stock and livestock to pasture, slaughter or sale. These can be allocated to freight expenses dating back to January 1, 2018.
The other important waivers that you need to know about are relating to expenses that landholders incur on a yearly basis in the form of Local Land Services rates, fixed water charges in rural and regional areas, new registrations and Class 1 agricultural vehicles that are oversize and/or over-mass registration costs. There are also waivers for Farm Innovation Fund customers who had registered before July 30, 2018.
The important thing to remember here is the LLS rates, water fixed charges and Innovation Fund waivers will be applied automatically, but for the registration waivers you will need to contact Service NSW (RMS or RTA building for those of us still catching up). Further details and applications are available through the Rural Assistance Authority website. Until next week, happy Landcaring!