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Australia - NSW government announces drought package for state's farmers

The NSW Government has made a significant announcement for drought assistance to help those affected around the state.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair announced additional funding for the Farm Innovation Fund, a new weather station, mental health and a new kangaroo management plan at a property just outside of Dubbo on Wednesday.

Farm Innovation Fund

The Farm Innovation Fund received an additional $250 million to provide farmers with low-interest loans of up to $250,000 to improve farm infrastructure and help farmers prepare for a deal with drought

The funds will also introduce new loans of up to $50,000 that will be interest-free for seven years to allow producers to bring in fodder, grain, to move livestock or install key water infrastructure including troughs, underground pipes or water saving techology.

New criteria in the farm innovation fund which allows farmers to use the loans to bio-bank the genetics of their herd that would otherwise be lost during destocking.

Mental health support

More than $4 million has been announced to support the centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health including continued funding for 13 statewide coordinators to link rural people to the help they need.

There will also be additional counselling support through funding for the National Association for Loss and Grief a Dubbo-based non-government organisation.

Doppler Radar Weather Stations

New funding of $25 million to build and operate three new doppler radar weather stations in the central and far west was also announced.

The new weather stations will improve weather forecasting and help farmers make better business decisions.

Kangaroo management plan

A new kangaroo management plan will be put in place to reduce kangaroo numbers in drought-hit areas.

The plan will include the removing the need for landholders to physically tag culled kangaroos, removing the shoot and let lie conditions to reduce bio-security risk, expanding the commercial harvest zone for kangaroos in the South East of NSW and connecting landholders experiencing high kangaroo numbers with commercial harvesters thought Local Land Services and other agencies.

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