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:
Drought Transport Subsidies
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.
To be eligible (PDF, 144.43 KB), primary producers must demonstrate that:
When assessing eligibility (PDF, 144.43 KB) for the Drought Transport Subsidy program, a new entrant is considered as any farming operation that commenced between 1 July 2015 and 30 June 2018.
When assessing eligibility for the Farm Innovation Fund or the Drought Assistance Fund, the “new entrant” category refers to any farming business that began operations 12 months to three years prior to the date of application.
The “new entrant” category has been added to recognise and support people new to farming who would otherwise be ineligible for some drought assistance measures while they build their business.
The NSW Government is offering eligible (PDF, 144.43 KB) farm businesses a transport subsidy of up to $20,000 per year. As this subsidy is available from 1 January 2018 to 30 June 2019, the total subsidy amount available is $30,000 over the 18 month period.
The subsidy is back-dated so eligible farmers can access subsidies for freight expenses incurred since 1 January 2018.
The subsidy covers up to 50% of the full cost of freight up to a maximum of $5 per kilometre (+GST) and 1,500 kilometres per journey, so the maximum subsidy per journey would be $3,750.
To be able to claim the subsidy, the farmer:
You can apply online via the Rural Assistance Authority website.
Help is available: Staff at Local Land Services offices, 37 Service NSW branches and some Rural Financial Counselling centres are available to assist you with your application. NSW DPI have developed a map of available locations and helpful links.
The NSW Government has always supported transport subsidies as they impact on the welfare of animals during drought.The subsidy applies to road or rail transport. It can be applied to the transport of fodder, water for stock and livestock to pasture, slaughter or sale.
The NSW Government is committed to continually assessing conditions and listening to our farmers. The effects of the current drought is continuing and compounding and NSW has had its driest start since 1982. The emergency drought relief measures offered in 2018/19 are in recognition of the the severity of this drought event.
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.
You can only apply for the subsidy after you have received a valid tax invoice.
You can make a claim on incurred costs from 1 January 2018 providing you can produce a tax invoice for applicable transport.
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.
For invoices issued prior to 6 August 2018 that do not itemise transport costs the Rural Assistance Authority DOES NOT require those invoices to be reissued.
Where necessary the RAA will request additional information from the supplier to verify either the cost of the specific transport or the rate per km utilised. This could be provided via email directly to the RAA or via the applicant.
If needed the RAA may ask the farmer to complete a statutory declaration however this will be on rare occasions where the transport costs cannot be identified in any other way.
No. The subsidy applies to transport costs of any stock.
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.
The subsidy applies up to a maximum distance of 1,500 kilometres per journey.
Assets held within the trust would be considered off farm assets unless the trust is used to operate the farming enterprise.
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.
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