The New South Wales Government has announced an additional $500 million in emergency funding to help drought-affected farmers.
The Emergency Relief Package includes $190 million for the introduction of transport subsidies of up to $20,000 to help cover the cost of transporting fodder and water.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the additional funding will help farmers who have faced an “unforgivably dry winter”.
“We knew as a government we had to do more,” she said.
Transport subsidies will be back-dated for expenses incurred since January.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said the relief package would assist farmers who had been forced to source fodder from interstate as local supplies diminished during a drier than expected winter.
“We said we would constantly reassess the conditions and relief measures,” he said.
“The fact we’ve now increased our drought relief package to over $1 billion is a reflection of how serious this drought is, and how much we value the health and wellbeing of our farming and regional communities.”
As part of the emergency funding, farmers will also be eligible for waivers on Local Land Services annual rates, fixed charges on water licences, registration costs for class-one agricultural vehicles, and interest on existing Farm Innovation Fund loans.
The package also includes funding for counselling and mental health services, drought-related road upgrades and animal welfare and stock disposal.
The NSW Rural Assistance Authority will begin processing applications from next Monday.