NSW DROUGHT: Do primary producers use the money allocations?

Dry times has seen some, not many, go to the government for help. Photo: FILE.
Dry times has seen some, not many, go to the government for help. Photo: FILE.

As the country's drought tightens its grip on producers and businesses, the government has committed money to help them survive.

Since the current drought started in 2017, the federal Agricultural Department and the NSW Primary Industries have allocated funding, grants, loans and developed programs for those affected by the lack of rain.

But how many primary producers are actually taking up the offer?

FARM HOUSEHOLD ALLOWANCE

The most recent calculations (2017-2018) has 25,272 agricultural businesses in NSW. These businesses are agricultural operations worth more than $40,000.

On July 4, only 2850 of these were accessing the Farm Household Allowance (FHA) payments. That's around 11 per cent of agricultural businesses.

ALSO MAKING NEWS:

Three thousand- one hundred and forty farmers or farmers' partners had accessed the one-off FHA Lump Sum payment of up to $12,000 per eligible farm household, according to the Department of Agriculture.

NSW recipients make up about 40 per cent of the current FHA recipients.

"The FHA is a time limited program (up to four cumulative years) that helps farmers and their partners in hardship make decisions about the future of their farm business. FHA is not a drought payment, it is available regardless of the cause of hardship," A Department of Agriculture spokesperson said.

CONCESSIONAL LOANS

NSW has approved 370 farm businesses to access the Commonwealth concessional loan schemes as at April 31 this year. $202.6 million has been shared among these businesses.

This system has now changed with the Regional Investment Corporation taking the place of the Commonwealth concessional loan scheme closed.

Drought loans can be accessed here. The Central West and Central Tablelands are both deemed eligible areas too apply for the drought loans.

ON-FARM EMERGENCY WATER INFRASTRUCTURE REBATE SCHEME

Of the 2001 applications for the On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate scheme, 1609 applications have been approved to the value of $7,877,312,37 as at June 20, 2019.

RURAL FINANCE

As at June 28 the Rural Finaincial Counselling Service had worked with 6000 clients nationwide and more than 1500 of these are in NSW according to the Department of Agriculture. The national total has increased from 1200 to 6000 last financial year.

Farm Management Deposit Scheme helps primary producers deal more effectively with the uneven income flows that have become a part of farming.

This system gives concessional tax treatment to deposits made during years of good cash flow, which can then be drawn upon in years where funds are needed.

As of May 31 this year there was over $5.87 billion held in over 49,600 separate accounts Australia wide.

WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE DROUGHT?

The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has a constantly updating map which takes into account which areas of NSW are beholden by drought.

The DPI takes into account rainfall, soil water, plant growth and their drought direction index. This classifies each area into five phases Non Drought, Recovering, Drought Affected, Drought and Intense Drought. On Tuesday there was a small section of Bathurst and Lithgow Local Government Area that were classified as non-drought. Every other LGA was either in Drought or Drought Affected.

Source: DEPARTMENT OF PRIMARY INDUSTRIES.

Source: DEPARTMENT OF PRIMARY INDUSTRIES.

Fifty nine per cent of the state was deemed drought affected, 21.4 per cent of the state was deemed drought stricken and 14.6 per cent of the state was classified as intense drought.

Source: DEPARTMENT OF PRIMARY INDUSTRIES.

Source: DEPARTMENT OF PRIMARY INDUSTRIES.

A small section of the Lachlan Shire was classified as being in intense drought.

SOURCE: DEPARTMENT OF PRIMARY INDUSTRIES.

SOURCE: DEPARTMENT OF PRIMARY INDUSTRIES.

The green non-drought section in the Central Tablelands falls in the Bathurst and Lithgow LGAs and makes up 9.7 per cent of the region. 71 per cent of the region is deemed drought affected and 19 per cent of the region is deemed drought stricken.