John Minogue speaks to Steph Cooke MP in a brown and dry looking paddock. Mr Minogue wears a weathered dryzabone coat.
Barmedman farmer John Minogue with Steph Cooke MP. This photo was taken prior to social distancing measures.

Local farmers and communities in the Cootamundra electorate will continue to receive vital drought assistance with the NSW Government providing a $310 million boost to the Emergency Drought Relief Package.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said that this crucial funding will ease the financial burden on regional communities caused by the drought.

Ms Cooke said many communities in the Cootamundra electorate have done it tough, having fought destructive bushfires, endured a long, hot summer and COVID-19 restrictions, but the NSW Nationals are determined to help farmers make it out of the worst drought in recorded history.

“My message to everyone in the Cootamundra electorate is that you have not been forgotten and I am determined to continue supporting our regional communities until the drought is well and truly behind us,” Ms Cooke said.

“This funding boost provides the certainty our communities, small businesses and farmers need to make important stock and business decisions this winter.”

Support available to drought affected comunities and farmers includes;

  • $116 million to continue the Drought Transport subsidy
  • $99 million to continue waiving of Local Land Services rates, bee site permits, Western Lands lease rent, wild dog fence rates and provide assistance for vehicle registration costs for eligible primary producers
  • $28.5 million to continue existing water licence fee waivers for stock, domestic, general and high security water users
  • Continuation of health and wellbeing programs, including the Farmgate Counsellors program, Aboriginal wellbeing services and Royal Flying Doctors Far West Drought Support programs.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said renewing current support measures will go a long way to supporting drought affected communities in the Cootamundra electorate to get back on their feet.

“I’m all too aware that some of the drought affected communities in the Cootamundra electorate feel like they have been forgotten due to the bushfires and COVID-19, and that rain in recent months may have left some people in the city with the impression that the drought is over,” Mr Barilaro said.

“The rain has helped and conditions are easing but we haven’t quite reached the recovery stage yet, which is why the NSW Government is again extending these emergency drought measures, taking our total investment to more than $2 billion, to help farmers through winter.”

Primary producers and small businesses already receiving support payments, subsidies, waivers and fee relief from the Emergency Drought Relief Package do not have to reapply.

For a full list of drought support measures, go to: www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/droughthub and www.nsw.gov.au/drought-in-nsw.