Shadow Minister for Primary Industries Eddie Hughes has called on Premier Steven Marshall to reach out to an estimated 2700 farmers in the Eyre Peninsula who may be eligible for the Federal drought assistance package.
The call comes as Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas prepares to meet with South Australian farmers affected by devastating dry conditions.
While New South Wales farmers face a drought described as the worst in living memory, some farmers in the North East Pastoral area, Eyre Peninsula, and Mallee regions are experiencing the same conditions.
The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting a drier than average August and September for parts of the state, offering no short-term relief in sight.
Mr Hughes said it wasn’t enough for the Marshall Liberal government to rely on their ‘federal buddies’ to offer the assistance package to SA farmers.
”Steven Marshall needs to get people on the ground contacting those eligible directly and helping them through the process,” he said.
“The state government needs to be doing more to support our farmers who are doing it tough and looking to the skies for the next lot of rain,” he said.
The Marshall Liberal Government have today convened a working group with key industry stakeholders and support agencies to discuss the challenging seasonal conditions farmers are experiencing.
The working group features representatives from Primary Producers SA, Grain Producers SA, Livestock SA and Rural Business Support, together with officials from Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA), Department of Human Services, Department of Environment and Water and the Bureau of Meteorology.
Primary Industries Minister Tim Whetstone said the next eight to ten weeks will be critical in determining how the season finishes.
“Over the next two months farmers will have a greater idea of whether there is adequate pasture growth early enough to get livestock producers through,” he said.
Minister Whetstone said there were a number of assistance available for farmers experiencing hardship, including the:
- Rural Financial Counselling Service delivered by Rural Business Support;
- Farm Household Allowance available from the Commonwealth Department of Human Services;
- Farm Business Concessional Loans available from the Regional Investment Corporation;
- PIRSA Animal Health Officers are available to provide technical advice on maintaining animal health; and
- Farm Debt Mediation through the Small Business Commissioner.
“By government and industry working together we can better target our joint efforts and resources to those who need a helping hand,” Minister Whetstone said.