Drought Assistance Packages
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:
See 2020 Drought Package for more.
The NSW Government announced a further $185 million to continue the NSW Emergency Drought Relief Package, to help farmers manage the effects of the drought.
The extended NSW Emergency Drought Relief Package for 2019-20 includes:
The NSW Government committed to new programs and increased funding in other critical areas, including:
An additional $10 million is allocated to targeted improvements to the Barwon-Darling river.
This is on top of the $400 million in election commitments, which includes:
The package comes into effect on 1 July 2019.
Inquiries regarding the Drought Stimulus Package can also be directed to the NSW Government.
In addition to the extension of the Emergency Drought Relief package, the NSW Government announced a new Drought Stimulus Package to help stimulate rural and regional economies impacted by this drought.
NSW Government investment in drought support to June 2019 is more than $1.8 billion.
The NSW Government announced a $500 million NSW Emergency Drought Relief Package to help farmers manage the effects of the current drought.
The three major elements of the $500 million NSW Emergency Drought Relief Package are:
The package also includes funding for:
NSW Government investment in drought support to June 2018 is $1.1 billion.
The NSW Government launched a $300 million Drought Strategy focusing on preparedness, improved decision making and targeted support for rural communities. In the 2018 NSW Budget, the Government boosted drought assistance by $284 million.
The continuing and compounding effects of the current drought mean that in 2018, NSW had its driest start to a year since 1982. The NSW Government assessed the conditions in July 2018 and announced the Emergency Drought Relief Package to ease financial pressure on farmers and support the communities affected.
The extension of the Emergency Drought Relief package, announced in June 2019 and taking effect from 1 July 2019, is in response to the prolonged and protracted drought and a negative outlook for the season ahead. The Government will continue its Emergency Drought Relief package in 2019-20 to help alleviate some of the immediate financial pressures facing our farmers and regional communities.
Cutting the cost of farming
Critical services to regional communities
The NSW Government recognises that this is a very difficult time for farming families and their communities. Serious mental health and wellbeing issues are often hidden and can include depression, anxiety, relationship breakdown and suicide.
Across the state, the NSW Government is providing practical support through the Local Land Services and Rural Assistance Authority, and financial and emotional support through the Rural Financial Counselling service and NSW Rural Resilience Program. Visit Available drought assistance in NSW on Drought Hub for all support services and tools available to NSW farmers and their families.
To find an office or service in your area, search the Assistance Near You map on Drought Hub.
If you or someone you know would like additional support or a person to talk to, the following organisations are available 24 hours a day to assist:
What kinds of courses can I access?
Numerous training courses are available and include but are not limited to:
For more information on courses that will suit your specific circumstances please call your local Training Services NSW Office on 13 28 11.
For more information on courses that will suit your specific circumstances please call your local Training Services NSW Office on 13 28 11.
How much will the courses cost me?
The courses are fully subsidised by the NSW Government under the State Government’s Smart and Skilled Program.
The general public can already apply for these subsidies courses, however, access to training involves approval based on competing priorities. Under this initiative access to the subsidised courses is guaranteed for any farmer or business owner that meets the eligibility criteria
Am I eligible?
Eligible applicants meet the following criteria:
Why is this support available?
Due to the severity of the drought, some farming businesses are experiencing income losses or business closure. This access to funding aims to provide a pathway to alternative income sources or new career options.
What can I use the Drought Assistance Fund for?
This program provides interest free loans to primary producers to deliver systems and practices that improve their business’ sustainability, such as;
If I have a Drought Assistance Fund loan already, how much can I borrow in the 2020/21 financial year?
Eligible farmers can receive a maximum of $50,000 under the Drought Assistance Fund.
Is the loan term of the Drought Assistance Fund still 7 years?
Is the repayment free period still two years?
Yes. There is no need to make repayments for two years from the date the loan is fully drawn down and then up to five years of principal-only repayments.
Is the interest rate still 0%
Yes. There is no interest on this loan. The principal must be repaid within seven years.
What is the Farm Innovation Fund?
The Farm Innovation Fund is a long term, low interest rate loan for NSW farmers for permanent on-farm infrastructure.
What changes have been announced regarding the Farm Innovation Fund?
As of 1 July 2019, you can borrow a maximum of $1,000,000 per project, with a total of $1,000,000 outstanding at any one time.
All costs associated with establishing stock containment areas are now eligible under the Farm Innovation Fund.
Additional funding to the Emergency Drought Relief Package takes the NSW Government commitment to the Farm Innovation Fund to $1 billion.
Why are bee site permit fees being waived?
To provide relief to beekeepers during the current drought conditions the NSW Government is waiving annual fees for existing beekeeping permits on public land.
How long are the fees being waived for?
Fees are being waived for the 2018/2019, 2019/20 and 2020/21 financial years.
What permits does the fee waiver apply to?
The waiver applies to annual permit fees for existing permits including: LLS apiary site permits, Forestry Corporation NSW apiary permits and NPWS apiary licenses and permits.
Will new permits (e.g. issued through an Expression of Interest or Long term Vacant Allocation Process) be free of charge?
The fee waiver provides relief for existing permit holders at the date of the announcement.
Annual fees for these permits will be free of charge in 2020/21.
Any new apiary permits issued during 2020/21 will be subject to the standard annual fee.
I have received an invoice. What do I do?
If you are a new permit holder, this invoice can be paid as usual.
If the invoice is for an existing permit, you will automatically receive a credit adjustment and receive a new invoice showing zero balance owing for the 2020/21 financial years.
If you have further questions about the Fee waivers please contact email@example.com
Who does this waiver apply to?
All existing Farm Innovation Fund and Special Conservation Fund customers, and all applicants who submitted an application on or before 30 June 2021 will have applicable interest charges for the first six months of the 2020/21 financial years waivered.
Do I need to apply for the Farm Innovation Fund interest waiver?
No. The refund will be applied and processed automatically.
How does this affect the term and repayments for my loan?
The refund will be a separate transaction and there is no requirement to change any existing loan details.
For more information contact NSW Rural Assistance Authority or call 1800 678 593
What do the changes include
Where do I get more information?
For more information visit the RMS Freight to drought areas page
Who does the Local Land Services rate waiver apply to?
The NSW Government has waived LLS rates for all landholders for 2019, 2020 and 2021. You do not need to apply for this waiver - it will be applied automatically. For more information, contact LLS on 1300 795 299.
Which Local Land Services rates will be waived?
All LLS rates, including General Rates and rates for Animal Health, Pest Animals and Pest Management, the Meat Industry Levy, and costs of Routine Stock Moving Permit and Stock Identification will be waived for 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Will I still receive a Local Land Services rate notice?
All landholders will receive a rate notice for 2021 in January detailing the charges that would normally be payable that year. The notice will show that the NSW Government’s Emergency Drought Relief Package has paid the rates for 2021.
Does the LLS waiver apply to unpaid rates from previous years?
The waiver applies to 2019, 2020 and 2021 rates only. It is understood that some drought affected farmers may be having difficulty paying unpaid rates from previous years. If this is the case, please contact your nearest Local Land Services Office to discuss options, which may include a payment plan tailored to your individual circumstances.
How will Local Land Services be funded in 2021 if no rates are collected?
The NSW Government will compensate for the lost revenue.
Who is eligible for a rebate on fixed charges on general security or general access water licences?
A rebate of up to $4,000 per licence applies to the fixed component of bills for general water access licence holders in rural and regional NSW across surface and groundwater systems, and to customers of Irrigation Corporation.
The majority of eligible licence holders received a rebate of the entire amount of fixed charges in 2019/20 and will receive a rebate in 2020/21.
High security licence holders for regulated river systems and government entities are not eligible for this rebate. However high security licence holders in some regulated river systems may be eligible for the waiver in 2020/21 as outlined below.
Who is eligible for a rebate of fixed water charges for domestic and stock and high security licences on regulated rivers?
This applies for the 2020/21 water year for domestic and stock and high security licence holders in the NSW Border Rivers, Lower Namoi, Upper Namoi, Peel, Macquarie and Lower Darling regulated.
These regulated rivers have either ceased to flow so no water is available, allocations to domestic and stock and high security users are restricted, or water cannot be delivered to some high security and domestic and stock users in the river system.
If the drought continues further river regulated systems may be included in the fixed charge waiver for domestic and stock and high security licence holders.
Will I receive a water licence bill?
Yes. The waivers apply to the fixed component of these water charges. The water usage fee component will still apply to all water users.
What time period does it apply to?
Licence holders in rural and regional NSW will have the fixed charge component of their next water bill waived.
Do I need to apply or register?
No. This waiver will apply automatically.
How can Business Connect support my business?
Business Connect advisors are experienced professionals who provide confidential advice independently from the NSW Government. Advisors can support you to tackle a range of business matters such as business planning, looking at your options and diversification opportunities, marketing, digital marketing and HR.
Advisors have experience running a small business themselves and have a qualification in a business-related discipline. Our accredited advisors also have management, consulting or prior experience giving business advice with a broad range of skills covering essential business topics.
With a network of local advisors available across NSW, complemented by specialist support and hundreds of practical workshops and events each year, Business Connect provides the advice, skills and information you need at any stage of your business.
How do I book an advisory session?
Register online or call 1300 134 359 to connect with your local Business Connect advisor.
Your local advisor can come to your business premises at a time that suits you (including outside normal business hours), or you can choose to meet at a convenient location or have an advisory session by telephone.
Multicultural advisors are available for Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese and Korean speakers.
Am I eligible for Business Connect support?
If you own a business in NSW, then Business Connect can help. Support is available for all industries including retailers, tourism operator, contactors and farm-business
How much does Business Connect cost?
The first four hours of one-to-one business advice is free.
Workshops, seminars and further advisory sessions are affordable and highly subsidised by the NSW Government. If you are in hardship circumstances, please speak to your advisor.
Visit the Business Connect FAQ page for more information.
When is the Business Bus in my area?
The Business Bus provides mobile business support, find out when the bus is in your area and book online or call 1300 134 359.
Farm Tracker - A guide for farmers
Farm Tracker is a simple tool farmers can use to record seasonal conditions, taking the hassle out of record keeping. Farm Tracker allows you to:
Read more and download the app from Farm Tracker - A guide for farmers.
Household water supply
If you are carting water for domestic purposes, check with your local Council that you are using a potable water standpipe.
Drinking water from potable water filling stations complies with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and is safe to drink without further treatment. It is essential to collect water into clean containers to make sure it remains safe to use. Do not use containers that have previously held chemicals or fuel.
Follow the steps below to ensure your water remains safe:
Contact your local Public Health Unit for advice on 1300 066 055 if you have already topped up your household tank and you are not sure of the quality.
Website link to information about water filling stations
Albury City Council
Ballina Shire Council
Bathurst Regional Council
Bega Valley Shire Council
Bellingen Shire Council
Blayney Shire Council
Coffs Harbour City Council
Dubbo Regional Council
Greater Hume Council
Lachlan Shire Council
Parkes Shire Council
Riverina Water County Council
Tamworth Shire Council
Temora Shire Council
|Upper Hunter Shire Council||http://upperhunter.nsw.gov.au/our-services/water-and-sewage/standpipes.aspx|
Animal husbandry and welfare