28 Oct 2012

Australian drought package agreed

10:12 am on 28 October 2012

A framework for a new national drought package has been agreed at a meeting of agriculture ministers from around Australia.

AAP reports a package to be implemented from 1 July was finalised by federal, state and territory ministers at a meeting in New Zealand on Friday.

Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig said it would help farmers prepare for challenges associated with drought.

The measures include farm household support payments, farm management deposits and taxation measures, a national approach to farm business training, provision of social support services and tools and technologies to help farmers make decisions about their properties.

Senator Ludwig said the programmes would be available at all times, without the need for declarations of drought or exceptional circumstances.

Until the new programmes were implemented, he said there would still be assistance available to farming families suffering hardship.

NSW Farmers welcomed the agreement. President Fiona Simson said that with 30% of New South Wales already marginal in terms of drought conditions, it was important to get speedy resolution to provide surety for farmers.