‘About bloody time, Gladys’: Donato
Monday’s $500 million drought funding announcement has been welcomed by Member for Orange Philip Donato, but he questioned why it took so long for the government to help farmers who are doing it so tough.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the $500 million Emergency Drought Relief Package on Monday while touring the Bathurst region.
The package includes subsidies to cover transporting fodder, water for stock and livestock — something Mr. Donato has spent months campaigning for.
“I’m proud to have led the charge on behalf of our farmers and regional communities for a far better drought assistance package,” said Mr. Donato.
“...we’ve been calling for freight subsidies for many, many months and although it is welcome, we certainly appreciate any additional financial support, it is long overdue and things shouldn’t have gotten as bad as they have before this government decided to do something.”
The freight subsidies will cover up to 50 per cent of the full transport cost and will be capped at $20,000 per farm business.
Mr. Donato said they will be looking closely at the package to make sure those who need assistance can get it.
“We still need to look at the detail. I understand there is a $20,000 cap on freight subsidies which will be subject to eligibility criteria, so we will have to look at the detail to see who’s eligible and who’s not, because we don’t want farmers missing out,” he said.
With ninety-nine per cent of the State now affected by drought and farmers facing a record dry winter, it may be a case of too little, too late, Mr. Donato said.
“At the moment any assistance is greatly appreciated, but like I said this should have been delivered months and months ago not wait until the middle of winter when almost all the fodder has been exhausted in our State, where fodder is coming from SA and Victoria predominantly, for this government to kick into action.”