THE federal government is throwing drought-stricken farmers to the wolves by cutting off their welfare, a former Gunnedah councillor says.
Tambar Springs farmer David Quince said some of the region's farmers were about to be kicked off the Farm Household Allowance scheme.
"The way it's set up at the moment is, once you've been on it for four years in total, you're no longer eligible any more," Mr Quince said.
"As we know, the last couple of years have been very dry, and this ongoing one tops the lot of them. In some cases, farmers have been on and off drought for the last four or five years.
"Many of them have been on and off Farm Household Allowance, but they're coming up to the end of their four years."
While the allowance is "hardly enough to get by on", for many farmers it's their only source of income after years of "horrendous conditions across the region".
"It's just enough to put bread and butter on the table," Mr Quince said.
"By cutting it off, you're virtually throwing people to the wolves.
"I think many may not even be aware they're about to be shut off.
"I have no idea what they'll do without it. I guess they'll have to sell more assets or more land, making the situation even more dire than it already is."
The Farm Household Allowance provides roughly the same amount of money as Newstart.
Mr Quince said it was ironic some Nationals MPs, such as Barnaby Joyce, had recently been vocal about raising Newstart but had so far remained silent on extending the Farm Household Allowance.
He called on the region's federal MPs to speak up about the issue and advocate on behalf of local farmers.
"There doesn't seem to be any mood for change," he said.
"It's a national disgrace and an emergency. The allowance should be rolled over for those approaching their four years."