Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald MLC has welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair of the new Drought Transport Fund that will assist farmers in the Lower Hunter to manage livestock through the current dry conditions.
The NSW Drought Transport Fund will provide up to $20,000 in low interest loans, with a two-year interest and repayment free period.
“I have toured drought affected properties in the Lower Hunter, most recently in February with Minister Blair and Member for Upper Hunter Michael Johnsen,” Mr MacDonald said.
“I thank the Minister for making the time to visit, consult and listen with the Lower Hunter community”.
“Farming and primary production are key industries for the Lower Hunter region and these farmers have been suffering through dry conditions which has taken a visible toll.”
“There has been some welcome recent rain in the Lower Hunter but as we know past drought recoveries the impacts can continue for some time and this will assist some producers.”
The NSW Drought Transport Fund will complement existing transport subsidies for the cost of transporting donated fodder within NSW and transporting stock off a property for animal welfare purposes.
These measures form part of the wider NSW Drought Strategy, which includes a rural resilience program, rural support workers and financial counselling, and the Farm Innovation Fund for on-farm drought preparedness work and capital improvement.
The Farm Innovation Fund has approved $54 million worth of low-interest loans this financial year, with almost $9 million worth of loans applied for in March alone, and more than $200 million since its inception in 2013.
More information on the NSW Drought Transport Fund and application details are available from www.droughthub.nsw.gov.au