WA agriculture to get $8.6 million drought assistance package

Sheep Central, April 26, 2024

PEAK sheep and cattle producer bodies have welcomed an $8.6 million support package for Western Australia’s agricultural industries and rural communities impacted by the current drought conditions.

Agriculture and Food Minister Jackie Jarvis today announced the package that includes grants, interest-free loans, water investment, mental health, community and rural charity support.

The package details include:

$2 million in hardship grants and $4 million in interest-free loans for farmers impacted by drought

$1.5 million investment in community water infrastructure

$875,000 to support mental health and community wellbeing programs

$225,000 in donations for rural assistance charities

The WA Government said primary producers facing financial hardship will be able to apply for up to $5,000 per business to help cover the costs of stockfeed, water and transportation. Applications will open in May.

Primary producers will be able to apply for up to $25,000 per business to cover the costs of stockfeed, water and transportation. These funds can also be used to establish feed silos, water tanks and improved irrigation systems or any other infrastructure that supports drought resilience. The loan is repayable over five years with no repayments for the first two years.

The State Government will also provide $1.5 million to extend the Community Water Supplies Partnership Program to more regional communities, with grants to establish or improve their non-potable water supplies.

Up to $100,000 can be provided for each off-farm community water supply project, developed by local government or community groups on a co-contribution basis. Water security can be boosted through new water tanks and infrastructure for emergency farm and firefighting community water supplies, as well as public amenity projects in regional towns.

A further $875,000 will be provided to support mental health and community wellbeing programs, with $250,000 for the Blue Tree Project, $250,000 for the Grower Group Alliance, $175,000 to Regional Men’s Health as well as $200,000 for Rural West to extend its farm financial counselling services to small businesses in drought impacted towns.

A donation of $150,000 will be made to Farmers Across Borders and $75,000 will be provided to Rural Aid, to assist the charities with their vital work supporting farmers across WA who’ve been affected by drought.

The government said today’s funding package is informed by the work of the Dry Season Taskforce, that is made up of agricultural industry leaders and aims to identify ways Government can provide drought relief. Sheep Producers Australia and Cattle Australia are members of the WA taskforce.

The taskforce has identified that WA sheep producers have excess stock in the system and extended this year’s live export trade period would allow a significant number to be exported. But Minister Jarvis’s request for a 10-day extension to federal Agriculture Minister Murray Watt is yet to receive a response.

Dry conditions have compounded market issues

Sheep Producers Australia CEO Bonnie Skinner said ongoing dry seasonal conditions have compounded existing market issues in WA along with limited turnoff options.

“The areas most affected are the wheatbelt, Great Southern, south-west, south coast, and southern rangelands.

“We must work collaboratively to ensure that the appropriate on the ground resources are activated so we are managing the welfare of our animals and our producers,” she said.

Cattle Australia CEO Dr Chris Parker said the financial assistance package will enable much-needed support and begin to assist in recovery efforts for our producers.

“Support must be provided not only in the short-term, but long-term, SPA and Cattle Australia will continue to advocate to ensure our producers and their livestock receive the support they need.”

He commended the Cook Government in acting and said he looked forward to working with it on any new measures that may be required.

“This is a sound first step.”

The sheep and cattle bodies in conjunction with Western Dairy are collecting information on the current situation across the sheep, cattle, and dairy regions of Western Australia to assist the government in better understanding the impact the dry season and low market prices are having on livestock producers and their management decisions. Click here to They are running a survey to inform the Dry Season Taskforce

WA Government ‘will always do what’s right’ by farming – Cook

WA Premier Roger Cook  said his government will always do what’s right by farming communities across WA.

“We’ve expedited this package of support to provide assistance for those doing it tough in the current dry conditions.

“I’d like to thank the Dry Season Taskforce for their work to develop this program,” he said.

WA Agriculture and Food Minister Jackie Jarvis said the government knows the current dry conditions mean rural communities across the state are struggling.

“We want to assure the community that our Government is listening to farmers and closely monitoring this situation.

“This significant $8.6 million support package for our primary producers will provide relief to those facing financial hardship and ensure that mental health and community wellbeing services are easily accessible across the regions,” she said.

WA Regional Development Minister Don Punch said it will take a whole-of-community effort to address the challenging seasonal conditions – including local, state and federal governments – and it’s encouraging to see communities are already banding together to support those in need.

“This financial assistance to support immediate recovery efforts complements the State Government’s investment – totalling more than $19 million – in long-term water security and climate resilience initiatives that help communities across regional WA prepare for and manage the impacts of more frequent dry seasons.”


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  1. John Lausevic, April 28, 2024

    Where do we apply for loans and grants? Nobody said anything about that.

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