Donato says $500 million drought package is long overdue

Member for Orange Phil Donato says it was “about bloody time” the state government delivered a drought assistance package.

Mr Donato’s comments came after Monday’s joint announcement from Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair that farmers would receive $500 million in drought relief.

“Well, it’s about bloody time; I have been calling on this government all year to introduce freight subsidies for our struggling farmers who are enduring the worst drought this century.” Mr Donato said.

He said over the past several months he’d spoken to farmers on a daily basis who were “frustrated and angry” and desperate for help.

“I’m proud to have led the charge in fighting for our farmers,” he said.

Mr Donato said the package was “better late than never”.

“Thank goodness they’ve back-flipped and are now offering up to $20,000 in 50 percent freight subsidies for each eligible farming business for transport of fodder, water and stock,” he said.

Mr Donato said he was yet to go through the details of the relief package.

“I raised the issue of LLS rates with minister Blair, and am pleased he will now be waiving these rates in addition to water licence charges, registration costs for agricultural vehicles and Farm Innovation Fund loans,” he said.

“Because I don’t have to toe a party line, I can vigorously represent farmers and my community in a way which can make a government respond. This is evidence of that.”