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FARMERS WELCOME EXTENSION OF DROUGHT ASSISTANCE

16 October 2006

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement that the Australian Government will commit an additional $350 million to extend Exceptional Circumstances drought assistance to all eligible producers.

“The Government’s recognition and support for farmers during these prolonged dry conditions is very important and very much appreciated,” NFF President David Crombie said.

“We are currently in a very serious drought event – the worst on record, coming on the back of a run of dry seasons. As a result, many farming families are under significant financial and emotional pressure.

“This situation has implications for not only the families involved but for their regional communities and, given the economic contribution agriculture makes to the national economy, the nation as a whole.

“Further to today’s announcement, we are currently engaged in discussions with the Government about what else can be done to provide support to farmers to survive this event and enable them to come out the other end with their productive capacity intact.

“Naturally, surviving the drought is and must be our first priority, and we welcome the Government’s continued commitment.

“Importantly, I would ask farmers not to self-assess their eligibility for assistance, but to contact their local Centrelink office or call the Centrelink National Drought Helpline on 13 23 16.”

Media Enquiries: Brett Heffernan, NFF Public Affairs, (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250 email:

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