​Half a billion dollars spent supporting Australian farmers through drought​

Australia’s Agriculture Ministry says it exists to both help those who are doing well to do better and also help those, who through no fault of their own, are doing it tough.

This Government has overseen record prices for cattle, sheep, and wool, finalised three Free Trade Agreements, and established new markets for a range of commodities from live cattle to tropical fruits, it said.

Despite this, parts of our nation continue to battle severe drought and thus it is important to acknowledge that we have now paid out more than half a billion dollars to support those in need.

“The Coalition Government has provided an estimated $501.51 million in assistance and support to farmers and farm businesses in drought since it was elected in September 2013,” Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said.

“When we came to government there was no drought policy. We have made it a priority and will continue to deliver.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, reminded all Australians that the need for support was real, especially in Queensland and parts of New South Wales.

“As at 17 June, this year, 5156 applications for Farm Household Allowance have been granted. That is real help for farming families to put food on the table when incomes have dried up,” Minister Joyce said.

“The Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and I recognised there was more to be done.

“On 9 May we announced another $82 million in assistance measures to drought-affected farmers and farm businesses and the budget further included funding of $614.99 million to fund the Farm Household Allowance fortnightly income payment for the next four years.”

As well as income assistance, social and community support funding, additional rural financial counsellors, pest management funding, water infrastructure rebates and infrastructure assistance for local governments, the Australian Government offers three concessional loans schemes.

“Across the concessional loans schemes, so far 598 farm businesses have been approved for loans with a total value of more than $313 million,” Minister Joyce said.

“The Drought and Drought Recovery Concessional Loans ensure that finance at low interest rates is available to farm businesses that can withstand drought and become productive again once they have a chance to get on their feet.”

Up to $250 million will be available for drought concessional loans in the new financial year. These loans not only assist farmers via concessional interest rates but they also apply some competitive pressure to the interest rates of commercial banks.

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