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Drought Assistance for South Australian Farmers

18 September 2018

Hon. J.A. DARLEY (14:55): My question is to the Leader of the Government, representing the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development.

Can the Minister advise what assistance South Australian farmers affected by drought will be provided following the Dry Conditions Working Group meeting on 23 August 2018?

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (Treasurer) (14:55): I'm happy to take the honourable member's question on notice and bring back a reply.

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Answer to Question

17 October 2018

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (Treasurer): The Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development has provided the following advice:

Assistance measures available to drought-affected farmers includes:

A dedicated 24-hour Agriculture, Animal Health and Welfare Hotline for anyone with questions relating to dry conditions, their individual circumstances and support available on 1800 255 556.

Eight Family and Business Scouts (FaB Scouts) have been appointed to support farmers and their families impacted by drought conditions.

Rural Financial Counselling Service, this service provides free, confidential and impartial business support and information to primary producers experiencing financial difficulty. An extra $260,000 was provided for the Rural Financial Counselling Service in the 2018-19 state budget.

The Farm Household Allowance, providing up to $25,000 per year for up to four years for an eligible farming couple. Farming couples eligible for Farm Household Allowance by 1 December 2018 will receive a once-off hardship payment of $12,000 paid in two transactions.

The Farm Management Deposit Scheme allows eligible primary producers to set aside pre-tax income from primary production in years of high income, which they can draw on in years of low income.

Low interest loans for farmers for farm investment, debt restructuring, operating expenses and drought recovery and preparedness activities. Loans are administered by the federal government's Regional Investment Corporation.

PIRSA animal health officers are providing technical advice on animal health, especially for livestock transport, biosecurity requirements such as requesting commodity declarations when buying in feed sources.

Technical advice and a range of workshops on animal nutrition and animal health, managing soil erosion and planning for next season.

PIRSA has undertaken an extensive fodder audit.

Livestock SA is establishing a fodder register to connect farmers to fodder donations.

PIRSA is coordinating donations to ensure funding meets the needs of the affected communities and that it is targeted to those most in need.

PIRSA is working with Brand SA to promote the many ways the public can support the state's farming sector through the I Choose SA campaign.

The Farm Debt Mediation Act, legislated by the government, better protects farmers and provides greater financial security, enforcing a mandatory mediation process before a creditor is able to foreclose on a farming operation.

SA has recently stopped charging stamp duty fees on multi-peril crop insurance – which will see a reduction of about 11 per cent of overall policy cost.

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©2017 BY JOHN DARLEY.