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Government releases drought support package for ACT’s farmers

By Ian Bushnell 14 August 2018 0

It’s been drier and warmer than long-term averages in the first half of 2018. Photo: Supplied.

The ACT Government has unveiled a support package for the Territory’s drought-stricken farmers, including freight subsidies for the haulage of feed for stock.

It comes after Vinnies Canberra/Goulburn launched an urgent appeal to help farmers in our local region.

The ACT Farmers Support Package will provide several assistance measures for eligible farmers, including:

  •  A 50 per cent freight transport subsidy scheme based on the recently announced NSW model. This will provide a subsidy of up to $20,000 on transport of fodder and/or water to a property, as well as the movement of stock. The subsidy will be from July 2018 for a period of 12 months (based on receipt);
  • New ACT Rural Resilience Grants (totalling up to $150,000) in 2018-19 that farmers can apply for to co-fund drought-related property management plans and on-ground works that minimise future drought impacts; and
  • Collation of an inventory of unleased Territory land that may be suitable for relief grazing, including examining required improvements such as fencing to make blocks suitable for agistment.

The Government said the ACT was experiencing extended dry conditions similar to surrounding areas in NSW, with the first six months of 2018 recording 34 per cent less rainfall and one degree warmer temperature than the long-term average. This follows last year which saw 21 per cent less rainfall than the long-term average.

Minister for Planning and Land Management Mick Gentleman met with the ACT Rural Landholders’ Association last week and the Government said it had brought forward a package that provided financial support, as well as a number of other measures the Government will continue to explore in the weeks ahead.

The Government said it had worked extensively with farmers in recent years to build their resilience when dealing with dry conditions due to climate change.

“Grants, workshops and information provision have led to farmers making timely decisions to reduce stock and secure feed, and also to access Australian Government assistance, which is not contingent on drought declarations,” Mr Gentleman and Chief Minister Andrew Barr said in a joint statement.

“It is clear though that the current conditions require extra action. The ACT Government is confident these new measures will help our farmers to get through this difficult time and also further prepare for the future.”

For more information on the support package, including application guidelines for farmers, visit www.environment.act.gov.au

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