Drought Assistance Packages
In 2015, 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.
On Monday 30 July 2018, 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:
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 is the Drought Transport Subsidy?
The Emergency Drought Relief Package, announced on 30 July 2018, includes $190 million for a Drought Transport Subsidy. The subsidy allows farmers to claim a portion of their transport costs from the government. The subsidy applies to the transport of fodder, water for stock or domestic use, and livestock to pasture, slaughter or sale. The subsidy applies to road or rail transport.
Is my business eligible for the transport subsidy?
Am I eligible for the 'new entrant' category?
How is the transport subsidy calculated?
How do I apply?
Where do I go for help lodging my forms?
Go to the Assistance Near You page on Drought Hub to check your eligibility, find staff near you who are available to help, watch a video about how to apply or call the Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593.
Why does the NSW Government offer a transport subsidy?
What has the Government backdated the measures?
This relief measure is backdated to 1 January 2018 when the drought intensified, especially in the Upper Hunter and Western NSW. This means eligible farmers who made the decision to destock will still benefit from this new relief package.
Can I get a subsidy before I pay for transport?
You can only apply for the subsidy after you have received a valid tax invoice.
I have already incurred costs this year, can I still make a claim?
You can make a claim on incurred costs from 1 January 2018 providing you can produce a tax invoice for applicable transport.
Can I apply for subsidies for multiple trips?
Yes, providing you are still within the subsidy cap of $20,000 per eligible farm business per year, which equates up to $30,000 over 18 months from 1 January 2018 to 30 June 2019.
Can I claim on an invoice dated before 6 August 2018 that does not itemise the transport costs?
Does stock have to be a particular score?
No. The subsidy applies to transport costs of any stock.
Can I get a subsidy if I transport stock, fodder or water myself?
Yes. Owner carriers are eligible for the transport of their own livestock and must provide proof of sale or slaughter, registration papers and travelling stock statement.
Is there a limit to how far I can transport fodder, water or stock and still apply for a subsidy?
The subsidy applies up to a maximum distance of 1,500 kilometres per journey.
The subsidy applies up to a maximum distance of 1,500 kilometres per journey.
Are trusts considered an off-farm asset?
Should the subsidy be treated as Taxable Income when my Income Tax Return is completed?
As individual circumstances vary, we strongly encourage applicants to seek professional advice as to taxation and other financial implications when applying for a transport subsidy. Contact the ATO Small Business Hotline on 13 28 66 for more information.
What do the changes include
Where do I get more information?
For more information visit the RMS Freight to drought areas page
Who is eligible for a rebate on fixed charges on water licences?
A rebate of up to $4,000 per licence will apply to the fixed component of bills for general security licence holders (and supplementary water access licence holders) in rural and regional NSW across surface and groundwater systems, and to customers of Irrigation Corporation Districts (ICDs) for water entitlement costs incurred by customers of the ICDs (e.g. Government pass through costs such as WAMC & WaterNSW fixed entitlement charges).
The majority of eligible general security licence holders (95%), excluding customers of ICDs, will receive a rebate of the entire amount of fixed charges.
High security licence holders for regulated river systems and government entities are not eligible for this rebate.
Will I receive a water licence bill?
Yes. Groundwater and unregulated surface water customers with annual bills will receive the credit on their next annual bill for 2017/18.
Regulated surface water customers on quarterly bills will receive a credit on their next four quarterly bills.
Licence holders in rural and regional NSW will have the fixed charge component of their next water licence allocation waived.
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
Animal husbandry and welfare