The Australian and Queensland governments are inviting applications for pest control programs in drought affected areas as part of a joint $15 million commitment to tackle pest weeds and animals.
The Australian Government is continuing its support for the Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS), with a $3.5 million extension for existing service providers until 31 March 2016.
They say persistence pays off, and Townsville stock agent Tim McHugh’s efforts to convince the Federal Government to open army land to grazing for drought-affected cattle adds further weight to that adage.
Interest rates on loans across the Australian Government’s concessional loan schemes for farm businesses are set to fall on August 1.
A Queensland Government move to lift maximum Drought Relief Assistance Scheme (DRAS) support payments from $30,000 to $40,000 per annum will allow some of the hardest hit farmers to seek further assistance towards the costs of fodder and water freight and emergency water infrastructure for stock, according to AgForce.
It has become tiresome watching politicians and rural leaders wringing their hands and shedding crocodile tears over the failure of drought aid to reach those in desperate need. The cause of their angst is that drought concessional loans are reaching very few people in need.
A North Queensland stock agent says the region is now experiencing the worst drought he has seen in 45 years in business.
The Federal Government is reportedly close to finalising a new drought assistance package for Queensland and New South Wales which would involve funding “shovel ready” projects to encourage people to stay in drought-affected communities.
Interest rates on loans delivered under the Farm Finance Concessional Loans Scheme and the Drought Concessional Loans Scheme will fall to 4.34 and 3.84 per cent respectively from 1 February 2015.