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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 9443

JOINT STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER, THE HON P J KEATING MP, AND THE MINISTER FOR PRIMARY INDUSTRIES AND ENERGY, SENATOR THE HON BOB COLLINS ADDITIONAL DROUGHT RELIEF

Photo of Keating, Paul

Keating, Paul

Period of Service: 20/12/1991 to 11/03/1996

More information about Keating, Paul on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 08/12/1994

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 9443

JOINT STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER, THE HON P J
KEATING MP, AND THE MINISTER FOR PRIMARY INDUSTRIES
AND ENERGY, SENATOR THE HON BOB COLLINS
ADDITIONAL DROUGHT RELIEF.
Federal Cabinet has agreed to introduce a further significant package of measures to assist
drought affected farmers.
This package, which is costed at more than $ 112 million over the next four years,
complements the $ 164 milon assistance package announced by the Government in
September and provides generous incentives for farmers to plan and prepare for future
drought.
The package announced in September was aimed at providing immediate welfare assistance
and farm business support to those suffering drought " exceptional circumstances". That
assistance will continue to be available and will be extendded automatically to other areas
should they be declared by the Commonwealth to be in " exceptional circumstances". This
latest package has a longer term focus and aims to encourage all farmers to better plan and
prepare for drought.
Drought is a recurring feature of the Australian environment, and while short term relief is
needed to ensure that those farm families suffering severe hardship in exceptional drought
areas are not left behind, sound risk-management planning and preparation is the key to long
term profitable and sustainable farming".
An enhanced Farm Management Bonds Scheme and an investment allowance for fodder and
water storage for livestock, water conveyancing and minimum tillage equipment, will
encourage farmers to adopt a self-reliant approach to drought consistent with the National
Drought Policy.
Protecting the natural resource base and the environment during drought is also a priority of
the package. Better links between labour market programs and local landcare groups and
additional funding for on-ground project costs amounting to $ 14.4 million over two years
will enable priority natural resource management works and measures to be undertaken in
drought affected areas.

The package approved by Federal Cabinet comprises:
An enhanced Farm Management Bond Scheme to encourage farmers to build cash
reserves for downturns such as drought. The scheme provides for tax deductibility in
the year of deposit, and includes an investment component raised from 80 per cent to
100 per cent, no withholding tax paid on withdrawal and an increase in the deposit
limit from $ 80 000 to $ 150 000 per taxpayer.
Taxation incentives for building up physical reserves for drought. An investment
allowance of 10 per cent for expenditures of up to $ 50 000 per taxpayer per annum, on
fodder and water storage for livestock, water conveyancing and minimum tillage
equipment will be provided until 2000.
Provision of an additional 10 million over two years for adjustment in drought prone
regions. Regional strategies will involve property restructuring and productivity
enhancement and will thereby enable better drought preparedness and recovery from
the current drought. The program will utilise the Rural Adjustment Scheme and
Commonwealth and State Government social welfare, labour market programs and the
National Landcare Program.
Strengthened arrangements to encourage local communities in drought areas to develop
landcare projects with labour input assisted by Commonwealth labour market
programs. Eligibility conditions for the JobSkills and JobStart programs have been
eased for farmers, farm family members and farmn hands in drought exceptional
circumstances areas.
Funding of $ 14.4 million over two years to the National Landcare Program for
landcare projects in drought areas to prevent resource and environmental degradation.
This will provide additional assistance for on-ground project costs.
Removal of the restriction on farmers who are receiving job search allowance from
eligibility for the RAS re-establishment grant.
Additional funds of $ 5 million over three years for continuing research into climate
forecasting and drought management techniques to assist farmers better prepare for
drought. million over two years for extension of the grant period for farm household
support recipients in the western division and central west of New South Wales.
Extension of exceptional circumstances declaration to Tasmania and additional areas of
New South Wales.
CANBERRA 8 DECEMBER 1994

Transcript 9443