Published: Thu, August 09, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

How drought relief actually ends up punishing Australian farmers

How drought relief actually ends up punishing Australian farmers

Australian farmers hit by a record drought will receive 12,000 Australian dollars (8,880 US dollars) each as part of the latest relief package for the agricultural sector, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Sunday.

"It's vital that we help farmers and families that are dealing with the stress and pressures drought brings", Simson said in a statement on August 5.

The Prime Minister has flagged more government support if the drought continues to pile pressure on farmers.

We need to do a better job of looking after them.

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He reaffirmed Australia's commitment to reducing carbon emissions after former prime minister Barnaby Joyce said the government's action would do nothing to stop droughts.

This increase will give farming families.

The NSW Farmers' Association and Queensland's AgForce both welcomed the federal government's announcement. "I have been here all my life, and this drought is feeling like it will be around a while", says a despairing Whitney, whose property near the town of Gunnedah is on the Liverpool Plains, a usually fertile area now withered having received the lowest average rainfall in almost 30 years. And, he says, there is "more to come".

Mr Maudsley also commended the private sector organisations, charities, media outlets and individuals who had continued to provide support for drought-affected communities. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology says parts of Australia experienced the second-warmest summer (December-February) on record and have just been through one of the driest and warmest autumns (March-May) on record.

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But National Farmers Federation president Fiona Simpson pointed to a 45 per cent reduction in red meat industry emissions between 2005 and 2015.

"The money will help farmers deal with what are challenging times at the moment and help them manage and improve their production systems once we get through this drought".

Under the new arrangements farmers can now receive a fourth year of assistance from the FHA, when previously they could receive three years' of assistance.

"A lot of farmers, we're using that a week", farmer Anto White from Belltrees in the Upper Hunter tells me.

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However the Department of Agriculture estimated that there may be 19,000 farmers eligible for Farm Household Allowance who had not yet applied for it.

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