SIMPLIFYING farm household allowance applications is one of the developments Army Major-General Stephen Day shared when he revisited Mullaley.
The federal government’s national drought co-ordinator spoke with locals on Friday in hopes of refining the government’s long-term drought strategy.
General Day said a lot of work had been done since his last visit to the region in September.
“This return visit is largely about me providing an update of what progress I have made in regards to previous issues,” General Day said.
“For instance, there has been a lot of progress made on simplifying the farm household allowance application: it is now far easier for farmers to fill out those forms and access that form of assistance.
“That application has been reduced by about 30 per cent, which will make it far easier for anyone who is applying.
“On top of making that process shorter and less stressful, we have also changed the order of the questions, now any questions that may make someone ineligible are now at the beginning and not at the end.”
General Day said he was continuing to work to his strategy of listening, planning and action.
“I mentioned that would be my strategy when I was last here and I have not moved away from that,” he said.
“I will never stop listening to what people on the ground have to say, but in some aspects we are in the planning stage while some, are in the action stage.
“For example we have directed the government to employ more rural financial councillors.
“That process is currently under way and is easier in some areas than others but we are getting there.
“By having more councillors it will also allow for more case by case assessments of what people need and will ensure people are not being overlooked or are receiving more than their fair share.”
The-35 year army veteran said,“The real issue regarding this drought is that there is no blanket solution.”
“Every farm has different problems and different needs, and every community has different problems and different needs,” he said.
“These visits are not just about hearing about problems, they are also a chance for me to bring back my homework, if you like, and show locals what has been done.”
General Day said there was still work to be done ahead of the national drought summit in Canberra next week.
“Getting through this drought is like a team sport,” he said.
“It’s going to take all of us as a country to come together and ensure that we get through this together.”
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.