VIDEO:Minister announces drought funding

VIDEO: Minister Hodgkinson speaks with a local farmer in Somerton.

RELATED COVERAGE: Farmers await minister

NSW Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson at the Somerton feedlot on Wednesday. Photo:Kate Ramien

NSW Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson at the Somerton feedlot on Wednesday. Photo:Kate Ramien

NSW Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson has today announced the government will provide additional assistance for drought-stricken farmers.

Minister Hodgkinson at the press conference in Tamworth this morning, with local MPs Kevin Anderson and Adam Marshall.

Minister Hodgkinson at the press conference in Tamworth this morning, with local MPs Kevin Anderson and Adam Marshall.

The $7 million package was announced in Tamworth this morning and comes on the back of a multi-million dollar package announced for Walgett, Bourke and Brewarrina council areas in November.

Today's announcement covers 20 additional Local Government areas including Walcha, Armidale, Uralla, Gunnedah, Gwydir, Guyra, Inverell,Moree, Narrabri, Tenterfield and Tamworth.

Ms Hodgkinson said the measures which are back-dated to January 1, 2014 for the new areas will include up to $20,000 per producer in the form of a Transport Assistance Reimbursement; up to $30,000 per producer for Emergency Water Infrastructure Grants; and the waiving of Local Land Services rates for a 12-month period.

“Seasonal conditions are deteriorating at a rapid rate across a large portion of NSW and I am concerned at the severity and speed at which this drought is moving across the landscape,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“While the NSW Government recognises that producers must make sound management decisions and implement extensive preparedness measures to deal with adverse seasonal conditions, no matter how well a farmer may prepare for drought, it is impossible to completely drought-proof a property.”

Read more in tomorrow's edition of the Namoi Valley Independent.

Farmer Tom Woolaston at the Somerton Feedlot with Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson and member for Tamworth, Kevin Anderson.

Farmer Tom Woolaston at the Somerton Feedlot with Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson and member for Tamworth, Kevin Anderson.

Somerton Feedlot

Somerton Feedlot

Farmer Tom Woolaston at the Somerton Feedlot with Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson and member for Tamworth, Kevin Anderson.

Farmer Tom Woolaston at the Somerton Feedlot with Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson and member for Tamworth, Kevin Anderson.

Tim and John Reardon of Omega Feeds, Gunnedah, with Minister for primary industries  Katrina Hodgkinson and member for Tamworth Kev Anderson.

Tim and John Reardon of Omega Feeds, Gunnedah, with Minister for primary industries Katrina Hodgkinson and member for Tamworth Kev Anderson.