Drought-ravaged farmers urged to seek help

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Malcolm Turnbull has dismissed suggestions Australia abandon global emission reduction targets because they won't help struggling farmers deal with the worst drought in years.

A few weeks back Crikey optimistically wondered if, by emphasising the need for resilience on the part of farmers in the face of drought and climate change, Malcolm Turnbull was ushering in a new, more sensible approach to drought relief.

"We can't make it rain".

"It's vital that we help farmers and families that are dealing with the stress and pressures drought brings", Simson said in a statement on August 5.

The opposition Labor party has criticized the aid as long overdue and said the government should also be focusing more on climate change and its consequences to find ways of coping with droughts in the long term.


"We, as a government, are right there by their side, right behind them, and supporting them all the way".

"Our poor guys, to get $6000, they have to list the size of their underpants", White says.

Ash Whitney from Goohli is one of many NSW farmers struggling through record drought conditions.

As drought hits hard in north-western NSW, kangaroos are swamping the township of Gunnedah in search of grass on front lawns and water from sprinklers. And, he says, there is "more to come". "When farmers do it well the whole nation benefits, when farmers do it tough, as they are now the whole nation suffers", he said during the press conference.

AgForce would continue to advocate for further measures to provide relief to drought affected communities including investment in capital works projects, council rates and land rent rebates, and increased education support for children from remote areas.


The National Farmers Federation president is welcoming extra Commonwealth funding for drought-stricken farmers - but concedes it's not yet clear whether it will be enough.

Under the new arrangements farmers can now receive a fourth year of assistance from the FHA, when previously they could receive three years' of assistance.

Meanwhile, the prime minister has been dragged back into debate over the impact of climate change on drought.

However the Department of Agriculture estimated that there may be 19,000 farmers eligible for Farm Household Allowance who had not yet applied for it.


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