NSW Farmers’ Association president Fiona Simson talks about protecting Australian farmers against future droughts
OUR primary industry ministers throughout the country have a golden opportunity on Friday to stand up for rural Australia and put in place a framework which will assist farmers and our agriculture industry manage future extreme weather conditions.
They will be meeting with the federal minister for agriculture on this day to decide on the future of drought policy.
Encouragingly, governments are favourable towards household income support.
However, we must ensure that any asset test allows farmers to preserve their farm assets for future income generation.
We have also had very positive discussions around the issue of preparedness and self-reliance, and constructive ways that governments might be able to assist farmers in this way.
Disappointingly business support is not attracting the same interest from government.
This forms an important part of any drought policy and we want state and federal ministers to commit to investigate business support options.
We also want to see improvements in farm management deposits, skills and training, investment in tools and technologies and social support measures.
Current drought policy measures have played a vital role in helping rural families and businesses through the recent drought.
The challenge for governments is to design a policy that delivers better outcomes than the previous one.