2020 Drought Package

The NSW Government investment

How much will the NSW Government invest in drought assistance for 2020-21?

The NSW Government will invest a further $310 million in emergency drought relief in recognition of the on-going drought conditions in regional NSW, extending emergency drought measures to help farmers and communities make it out of the worst drought in living memory.

This new investment takes the NSW Government’s total drought support and water security commitment to close to $4 billion.

Extended support includes:

  • $116 million to continue the Drought Transport subsidy
  • $99 million to continue waiving Local Land Services rates, bee site permits, Western Lands lease rent, wild dog fence rates and provide assistance for vehicle registration costs for eligible primary producers
  • $28.5 million to continue existing water licence fee waivers for stock, domestic, general and high security water users
  • Continuation of health and wellbeing programs, including the Farmgate Counsellors Program, Aboriginal wellbeing services and Royal Flying Doctors Far West Drought Support programs

More detail

The NSW Government will provide an additional $116 million to continue the Drought Transport Subsidy to help farmers reduce the cost of transporting fodder, stock, fertiliser, water and other farm inputs.

It can be applied to the cost of transporting fodder, water to a property for stock or household (domestic) use, stock to and from agistment, and stock to sale or slaughter. In 2019, the subsidy was expanded to include transport of farm chemicals, fertiliser and seed to farms.

Producers will be entitled to a cap of up to $50,000 for Round 3 of the subsidy program in the Financial Year 2020/21. More details will be provided when updated guidelines are released.

For journeys completed between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020, a separate cap of up to $50,000 is available.

Read the Frequently Asked Questions or contact the Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 for more information.

The NSW Government is waiving all Local Land Service rates for 2021, following waivers in 2019 and 2020, including general rates and rates for animal health and pests, the meat industry levy and costs for routine stock moving permit and stock identification.

You do not need to apply for this waiver as it will be automatically applied to landholders when rates are normally collected.

Read the Frequently Asked Questions or contact Local Land Services on 1300 795 299.

For the 2020-21 water year, the NSW Government is providing a waiver of fixed water charges for all domestic and stock and high security licence holders along the NSW Border Rivers, Lower Namoi, Upper Namoi, Peel, Macquarie and Lower Darling regulated rivers in recognition of the cut or restricted supply in these systems.

The NSW Government is continuing to provide financial assistance of up to $4,000 to all general water licence holders in rural and regional NSW across surface and groundwater systems, and to customers of Irrigation Corporation for the 2020-21 water year. This waiver also applied in the 2020-21 water year.

You do not need to apply for these waivers as they will be automatically applied to the next bill. WaterNSW is administering the waiver on fixed charges on behalf of the NSW Government.

Read the Frequently Asked Questions or contact WaterNSW  on 1300 662 077.

The NSW Government is waiving bee keeping fees for existing public bee site permits for the 2020-21 financial year.

Read the Frequently Asked Questions or visit Beekeeping on public land for a list of contacts.

The NSW Government will provide assistance for vehicle registration costs for eligible primary producers.

Read the Frequently Asked Questions or visit Transport for NSW.

The NSW Government will pay the annual Border Fence Maintenance, known as ‘dog rates’, which cover the NSW Border Fence for 2019,2020 and 2021. You do not need to apply for this waiver as it will be automatically applied to the eligible landholders.

Read the Frequently Asked Questions or contact Crown Lands on 9338 6600.

The NSW Government is offering a loan scheme for capital works up to a value of $1 million per project for infrastructure works (e.g. sheds, silos, water storage) to prepare for dry conditions, to build resilience and improve on-farm efficiency.

Read the Frequently Asked Questions or contact the Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 for more information.

The NSW Government is offering a $50,000 interest-free loan to transport stock, fodder and water, genetic banking of breeding herds and installing on-farm fodder and water infrastructure. The loans term is seven years and there are no repayments required in the first two years.

Read the Frequently Asked Questions or contact the Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 for more information.

The NSW Government is covering the cost of transporting donated fodder when transport providers are acting in conjunction with community groups and taking fodder from within NSW to drought-affected properties. One hundred percent of the costs will be covered up to a maximum of $5 per km and up to 1500 km.

Read the Frequently Asked Questions or contact the Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 for more information.

Natural disaster assistance is available to help communities and individuals directly affected by flood, fire, storm damage or any other declared natural disaster. To support relief and recovery following a declared natural disaster a range of measures are made available by the NSW Government.

The Rural Assistance Authority (RAA) provides a range of financial assistance and support during a natural disaster, including the following grants and loans.

NSW continues to endure a record drought, with the effects being felt by farming businesses, communities, towns, cities, workers, families and businesses.

Recent rain in some parts of the state has helped and conditions are easing, but many areas have not reached the recovery stage yet.

More than 90 per cent of the state remains drought affected as of the start of May, and the situation remains dire in some parts of the Far West, the Northern Tablelands and the far South Coast.

While there is an improved rainfall outlook for the first half of the 2020 winter crop period, farming businesses will continue to be reliant on follow-up rainfall to maintain yield potential.

The severity and extent of the drought means that even as conditions return to normal, farming businesses will need more time to restore normal cash-flow and profitability.