Member for Barker Tony Pasin MP has once more called on the State Government and State Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Leon Bignell to provide real, tangible financial support for drought stricken farmers in South Australia.
This renewed call for action follows the Federal Government’s recent announcement that funding for Rural Financial Counselling Services will continue for the next three years, with $47 million committed through to 2019.
“In December I wrote to Minister Bignell proposing that the South Australian State Government offer a full rebate on the Emergency Services Levy, Natural Resource Management Levy and council rates to those eligible for assistance under the Farm Household Allowance criteria.
“In that same letter, I suggested that South Australia mirror Victoria’s 50% rate rebate on council rates for all other farmers affected by severe drought,” said Mr Pasin.
“While the Victoria State Government works on an $80 million extension of the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline, connecting drought stricken farmers in the state’s south-west to much needed water sources, while across our border some 5 kilometres away our own farmers are fighting a drought with incredibly limited assistance.”
The South Australian State Government’s $500,000 spend on drought relief measure pales in comparison to the Victorian Government’s $27 million drought package which was announced in 2015.
“When you compare South Australia’s drought relief measures with Victoria’s the lack of support from our State Government to our farmers is glaringly obvious,” said Tony Pasin.
Mr Pasin’s letter to Minister Bignell was referred onto Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis who has yet to reply, four months later.
“While I acknowledge that no amount of funding will alleviate the drought, it is what is needed to keep these businesses afloat until it rains,” said Mr Pasin.
“I urge Mr Koutsantonis and Minister Bignell to re-consider drought measures from the State Government for our farmers, who have suffered through two years without rain, resulting in a 90 per cent crop loss.”
As announced in July 2015 the Federal Government are currently offering a range of drought assistance measures to those affected nationwide including;
• $150 million in Drought Concessional Loans
• $100 million in Drought Recovery Concessional Loans
• Un-Capped, demand driven Farm Household Allowance
• $25.8 million for Managing weeds and pest animals
• $20 million in Enhanced social and community support
• $35 million in Drought Communities Programme
• $1.8 million in additional funding for Rural Financial Counselling Service
For more information on the Federal Government’s Drought Assistance Package visit http://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought