Water Week

EWN Publishing

Drought assistance: Federal Government now paying farmers to walk off their land to take up alternate employment; farmers on more than half of agricultural land subsidised by Feds through drought payments

Posted by waterweek on 4 October 2007

Severity of the drought had forced the Federal Government to pay farmers to walk off their land and also to retrain them to take up alternate employment, a step whose thinking had been influenced by the ever-growing amount of money being spent on drought assistance, and that farmers on more than half of agricultural land were subsidised by the Federal Government through special assistance drought payments, reported The Sydney Morning Herald, (26/09/2007, p.1). Highlights of the scheme: The federal scheme entailed:

  • Exit grants of up to $150,000 for farmers who decide to leave the land;
  • A further $10,000 for advice and retraining and up to $10,000 for relocation;
  • Opportunity to earn $20,000 away from the farms and still receive assistance payments;
  • $5000 for planning grants and professional advice for people in affected areas;
  • Assistance for all small businesses in towns of up to 10,000 people, which rely on farmers for income; and
  • Grants of up to $20,000 to irrigators in the Murray-Darling Basin to cope with reduced water allocations.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 26/9/2007, p. 1

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