The federal government's drought relief program should include a helping hand to regional communities so small businesses don't suffer, says Nationals MP Darren Chester.
Mr Chester applauds Prime Minister Scott Morrison's decision to visit drought-stricken Queensland this week in his first official visit in the top job, and says local councils should be given more resources so workers don't pack up and leave.
"And potentially provide for keeping skilled workers in those communities because small businesses are affected as well," he told the ABC on Sunday.
"Often there is a need for off-farm work during this period of time."
Farmers will soon feel some relief after drought support legislation cleared parliament last week, providing eligible couples with up to $12,000 and individuals $7200 in two payments on September 1 and March 1.
The cash injection is a supplement to the Farm Household Allowance, a payment worth about $16,000 a year which farmers can access for a limit of four years.
Head of the National Farmer's Federation Fiona Simson hopes to speak with the prime minister about water infrastructure and certainty in water supply.
"With many farmers running out of water out on their properties, it is a really contentious issue," she told the ABC.
"Farmers need certainty around some of the things that we do and some of the ways that we use really important natural resources, like water and soils."
Australian Associated Press
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