Drought suffering farmers get Federal support

Farmers will receive immediate financial support to help them and their communities fight the drought

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.

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.

But Mr Turnbull said the package was a supplement to the Farm Household Allowance, a fortnightly payment for eligible farmers totalling about $16,000 a year.

Farmers have meanwhile expressed concerns the media is too heavily focused on drought "disaster" stories, fearing it could damage the reputation of Australia's livestock industry. The NSW government has also given more than A$1 billion in assistance.

We need to do a better job of looking after them.

"We look forward to sitting down and working with the government on more targeted drought measures". "I have been here all my life, and this drought is feeling like it will be around a while", says a despairing Whitney, whose property near the town of Gunnedah is on the Liverpool Plains, a usually fertile area now withered having received the lowest average rainfall in almost 30 years. And, he says, there is "more to come".

"It has been extremely heartening to see Australians rally around our farmers and rural communities during these tough times", he said.

Turnbull also paid tribute to farmers for their resilience.

Derek Schoen, who has a property at Corowa, says farmers aren't at the end of the drought, they're in the middle, with no end in sight.

National Farmers' Federation chief executive officer Tony Mahar said the Government's support was a step in the right direction, but added there was no silver bullet.

He says every area of farming technology is improving all the time but we do have the problem of a very volatile climate - and it appears to be getting more volatile as time goes by.

McCormack echoed the prime minister and acknowledged the important role farmers have in the nation.

But 19,000 people who are eligible still haven't applied.

The Federal Government says another phase of drought support will be announced in coming weeks.



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