Drought package expanded to help more people

05 Mar 2020
Drought package expanded to help more people

Drought package expanded to help more people

  • Expand mental health outreach support with enhanced Family and Business Support Program
  • Introduce a $120 per dog wild dog bounty
  • $330,000 for community drought recovery events
  • Extend the 50 per cent rebate for pastoral lease rents
  • An extra wild dog trapper to be employed

The Marshall Liberal Government’s $21 million drought package will be expanded to allow more primary producers dealing with extended dry conditions to access support as an outcome of the Premier’s recent drought tour.

A further $2 million will be allocated to provide mental health outreach services going door-to-door to support farmers under an enhanced Family and Business Support program.

The 50 per cent pastoral lease rent rebate will be extended to all pastoralists, providing immediate financial assistance to those in the outback suffering through extended drought conditions.

To help deal with threat of wild dogs the State Government will employ another full-time trapper as well as further investment in the annual wild dog baiting program. To encourage private action to control wild dogs a $120 bounty will be introduced, claimable by drought-affected landholders.

The eligibility criteria for the On-farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme will also be eased to encourage further investment into repairing existing bores, dams and infrastructure, and installing on-farm desalinators.

Premier Steven Marshall said the expanded $21 million Drought Support Program came about after feedback during his most recent drought tour.

“Last month I held drought forums in Cleve, Marree, Hawker and Orroroo which were attended by a wide cross-section of locals including farmers, pastoralists, small business owners and community leaders,” said Premier Marshall.

“Many people in these drought-affected regions are doing it tough and I will continue to work with those directly impacted on the best way we can support them.

“We have listened to this feedback and expanded our $21 million Drought Support Program to make sure assistance is getting to those that need it most.

“We are proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with South Australian farmers and will continue to work closely with the Federal Government to ensure support is being provided in a practical and efficient way. ”Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the expanded Drought Support Program would allow more primary producers to access support.

“Some of our primary producers have been suffering through drought for three consecutive years and the Marshall Liberal Government will continue to support those that are doing it tough,” said Minister Whetstone.

“Our expanded $21 million package provides immediate financial assistance with council rate and pastoral lease rent rebates, improved mental health outreach services as well as extra resources to help control wild dogs which can have devastating impacts for our pastoralists by driving sheep off farming lands.

“The mental health and wellbeing of those in our drought-affected communities is a priority which is why we will further expand our Family and Business Support Program to provide door-to-door mental health outreach services.

“FaBS mentors can assist in ensuring people are able to access technical advice, drought assistance and other support measures available through government, non-government, community and charity networks.

“Importantly the team of FaBS mentors can also respond to direct requests for help from people or from others concerned about the wellbeing of a family member, friend, neighbour or client.

“Both the State and Federal Governments have drought support packages in place, and I encourage anyone struggling through dry conditions to see what help is available and not self-assess.

“I will continue to engage directly with our drought-affected primary producers through our Dry Conditions Working Group and we will continue to respond as needed.”

Other measures being delivered under the expanded Drought Support Program include:

  • $100,000 for a Soil Erosion Emergency Action Fund to address soil drift and stabilise paddocks where landowners have failed to take action;
  • $200,000 for additional wild dog baits;
  • Provision of strategic business reviews for drought affected small businesses to help them plan for the future;
  • Convene a Regional Banking Forum between the major banks and regional community leaders;
  • Meet with the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia (NASAA Organic) to discuss opportunities for pastoralists to participate in state wild dog control activities while maintaining organic certification;
  • Work with Livestock SA on measures to fund industry’s share of the $25 million rebuild of the Dog Fence; and
  • Work with the Commonwealth to eliminate state-based freight subsidies that have been distorting regional fodder markets at the disadvantage of South Australian farmers.