Updated: 06 Apr 2020
Visit Frequently Asked Questions for an overview of the Emergency Drought Relief Package, announced on 30 July 2018.
This page provides details and links to a wide range of measures being delivered by the NSW Government to support farmers impacted by drought conditions. This list is regularly updated when new initiatives are announced.
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:
The NSW Government is offering a loan scheme for capital works up to a value of $1 million per project for infrastructure works (eg sheds, silos, water storage) to prepare for dry conditions, to build resilience and improve on-farm efficiency. View details of eligibility (PDF, 219.6 KB), visit the Rural Assistance Authority or call 1800 678 593.
The Australian Government is offering low interest loans to help farmers prepare for, manage through and recover from drought. Download their Loans at a Glance or visit the Rural Investment Corporation for more details on eligibility and loan terms.
The NSW Government is subsidising 50% of eligible costs for the permanent transport of stock off a farm which is facing financial hardship and where livestock are at fat score 2 or below (dairy cattle 3 or below), to a maximum of $20,000 per financial year. Visit the Rural Assistance Authority to apply or check eligibility or call 1800 678 593.
A rebate of $2,000 will be provided to assist eligible applicants with the costs of carting water or installing associated infrastructure, like water tanks and pipes, to help secure their domestic water supplies.
The rebate will apply to occupiers of properties who typically access water from regulated river flows for their domestic supplies, but where flows ceased for extended periods due to the drought.
Peel River downstream of Dungowan Weir
Darling River downstream of Weir 32
NSW Border Rivers
Namoi River between Manilla Weir and Keepit Dam
Occupiers of properties with direct river frontage or domestic and stock access licences in eligible locations, may apply for the rebate from ServiceNSW.
Eligible applicants can apply for the Water Carting Rebate on the ServiceNSW website until 30 June 2020.
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. For more information, contact the Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593.
The NSW Government’s transport subsidy 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. For applications received from 1 July 2019 the subsidy has expanded to include transporting of farm chemicals, fertiliser and seed to farms.
For journeys completed between 1 January 2018 to 30 June 2019, a $40,000 cap is available. For journeys completed between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020, a separate $50,000 cap is available.
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The NSW Government will subsidise up to 50% of eligible costs for an approved course or activity, with a maximum reimbursement of $5,000 per farmer and $9,000 per farm business. Visit the Rural Assistance Authority or call 1800 678 593.
The Australian and NSW Governments are offering a rebate to drought affected farmers who invest in urgently-needed on-farm water infrastructure to improve productivity and resilience for horticultural farmers with permanent plantings, or that address animal welfare needs. Farmers will be able to access a 25% rebate up to $25,000 on new purchases and installation costs of water infrastructure projects on-farm across NSW to help them in the current drought and be better prepared for future dry conditions.
The On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate scheme can be applied to new purchases and installation of pipes, water storages and water pumps, de-silting dams, and associated power supplies such as generators.
Farmers will be eligible to apply through the NSW government for the rebates which will also cover eligible work undertaken since 1 July 2018.
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The NSW Government is subsidising skills training for farmers and regional businesses impacted by the drought and looking to transition into new or updated career opportunities.
More information on eligibility is in the Frequently Asked Questions.
The NSW Government is waiving bee keeping fees for existing public bee site permits for 24 months. Those beekeepers who paid or have been invoiced for their 2018/19 fees will either receive a refund or will be provided with a credit for the next billable financial year. If you are a beekeeper with existing permits in NSW please read the Frequently Asked Questions for further details on fee waiver periods.
The NSW Government is delivering relief to farmers for new registrations and renewals of agricultural vehicles. Visit Service NSW for more details or call Service NSW on 13 22 13.
Read the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.
All existing Farm Innovation Fund customers, and all applicants who submitted on or before 30 June 2020, will have applicable interest charges for the 2018/19 and 2019/20 financial years refunded and waived.
You do not need to apply for this waiver as it will be automatically applied to FIF customers. For more information contact the Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593.
Read the Frequently Asked Questions or contact the Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 for more information.
The NSW Government is waiving 2019 fees for existing grazing permit holders on National Parks land in the Riverina. You do not need to apply for this waiver as it will be automatically applied.
The NSW Government are waiving all Local Land Service rates for 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.
Read the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.
For the 2019/20 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 $4000 to all general water licence holders in rural and regional NSW across surface and groundwater systems, and to customers of Irrigation Corporation for the 2019/20 water year. This waiver also applied in the 2018/19 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.
The NSW Government will pay the annual Border Fence Maintenance, known as ‘dog rates’, which cover the NSW Border Fence for 2019 and 2020. You do not need to apply for this waiver as it will be automatically applied to the eligible landholders.
The Australian Government offer a range of measures to support farmers and rural communities.
The Australian Government has committed $123 million to to support 123 drought-stricken councils to invest in local community infrastructure, boosting local employment, addressing social and community needs and other projects such as emergency water supply. For more information, go to Drought Communities Program or call 13 28 46.
Farm Household Allowance (FHA) is an Australian Government support package that’s available to eligible farmers and their partners experiencing hardship (including drought) for up to four cumulative years (1,460 days). FHA gives farmers breathing space to implement plans and seek training to become financially self-sufficient, so they are better placed to sustain their farming businesses. Improvements to the process allow farming couples to apply on one form, and fortnightly rates are fixed, the assets test is simplified, and the payment time period and amount has been increased. For more information call 132 316 or visit Farm Household Allowance.
The Australian Government’s Farm Management Deposit scheme assists primary producers to manage their financial risk and meet their business costs in low-income years by building up cash reserves. The scheme allows eligible primary producers to set aside pre-tax income from primary production in years of high income, which they can draw on in future years when they need it, such as for restocking or replanting when conditions start to improve. Visit Farm Management Deposits for more information.
Drought relief activity is increasing heavy vehicle use on local roads, and the NSW Government is investing $15 million towards road maintenance, such as shoulder and road surface repairs and signage. Councils are encouraged to apply for grants up to $300,000 for repairs in their area. Visit RMS for guidelines and eligibility and how to apply or call the heavy vehicle customer service hotline 1300 364 847.
The NSW Government is supporting access for heavy vehicles carrying larger loads, to safely and efficiently move feed, water, and stock in response to drought conditions. The changes allow for an increase in hay capacity of 21 percent compared to the current general access vehicles.
With drought conditions affecting NSW, some council areas are opening water filling points for households to collect water for domestic and stock use.
Visit the FAQ page to check availability in your area, download guidelines for professional water carters and links to known participating councils.
NSW-based sporting bodies who partner with a health service provider or charity can apply for funding for sport-led mental health, social and emotional wellbeing initiatives in drought-affected communities. The program can be new or existing. For more information, contact email@example.com or visit the Office of Sport for more information on the 2019 submission process.
The Australian Government is allowing primary producers to immediately deduct (rather than depreciate over three years) the cost of fodder storage assets, such as silos and hay sheds used to store grains and other animal feed storage, making it easier for farmers to invest in and stockpile fodder. Visit Taxation Measures for more information or call the Taxation office on 13 28 66.
The Australian Government is investing $72 million under the National Water Assistance Development Fund for water infrastructure in drought-affected areas. Read more about the Water Infrastructure Development Fund.
The Australian Government has committed $2.7 million to develop a new finer scale regional weather and climate guides, helping farmers make informed decisions about crop planting and stocking levels. Visit the Bureau of Meteorology for more information.
Business Connect provides tailored, trusted advice for your small farm or non-farm business. Register online or call 1300 134 359 to connect with your local Business Connect advisor.
Business Connect advisors are experienced and accredited professionals who provide confidential advice independently from the NSW Government. Advisors can advise on a range of business matters such as business planning, looking at opportunities to diversify, marketing, digital marketing and HR.
Supporting drought affected communities in NSW with community driven initiatives which bring people together and support connected communities and wellbeing of their people. This may be small community BBQ events, or larger family gathering style events.
For more information and to access the fund, contact your local DPI Rural Resilience Program staff member.
Local Land Services staff are technical experts who can provide farmers with on the ground support and advice on agricultural production, biosecurity, animal nutrition, pasture management and livestock health. Visit Local Land Services for more information or visit the Assistance Near You map to find an office near you.
The Rural Assistance Authority administers a wide range of assistance measures to the rural sector, both state and Commonwealth funded. To apply for a Drought Transport Subsidy, Drought Assistance Fund, Farm Debt Mediation, Animal Welfare Transport Subsidy or to see the full range of assistance measures administered by RAA, visit NSW RAA or call 1800 678 593
Revenue NSW is offering assistance to any individuals and businesses affected by the drought, including farmers receiving government drought relief assistance. Anyone experiencing difficulties meeting obligations is invited to contact the relevant business area at Revenue NSW to discuss their individual circumstances and which assistance measures are available.
The NSW Government is funding the state-wide RAMHP progam to help link people in regional and remote areas of NSW with mental health support. Visit RAMHP for more information on services, training and the location of a counsellor near you.
The Rural Financial Counselling service is jointly funded by the state and Commonwealth governments and the counsellors help farmers who are dealing with, or are at risk of, financial hardship. Rural financial counsellors can help identify options, develop action plans and access the Farm Household Allowance (FHA). Rural Financial Counsellors are also available to assist farmers to lodge Drought Transport Subsidy forms. Search the Assistance Near You map to find a Counsellor near you or visit RFCS for more information.
The Rural Resilience team are dedicated to building the personal and business resilience of farming communities. The team works proactively in partnership with farming communities and service providers across NSW to strengthen networks, exchange information and deliver relevant initiatives that build personal and business resilience skills and knowledge, enabling people to move forward in a positive direction.
The NSW Government has staff available to help farmers lodge transport subsidy forms across the state. Search our interactive map for an office or service centre near you.
The NSW Government have developed a free mobile app to help farmers make informed decisions about animal welfare in dry times. The Drought Feed Calculator app will help farmers save money by determining the minimum feed requirement for different livestock, and compare the value of different feeds or a mixed ration. The app covers 71 different feeds and calculates:
The Drought Hub website is a central source of information for NSW Government drought assistance and support services for drought affected primary producers, their families and communities. Visit Drought Hub for more information, news and updates.
The Farm Tracker App is a simple tool that can help farmers to record seasonal conditions on their property, such as conducting a crop, pasture or animal survey, keep a photo diary or monitor a paddock over many years. Reports can be completed quickly and easily, with data being saved in a personal database. Learn more about the Farm Tracker App or download the app for free from the iOS App Store or Android Google Play.
Read the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.
The NSW Government has appointed a State Drought Transport Subsidy Integrity Advisor to monitor freight prices. Members of the public are invited to report concerns about the cost of freight and fodder during the drought. Reports can be made by email firstname.lastname@example.org or submitted online below.