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Drought Summit an opportunity not to be squandered

25 October 2018

The National Farmers’ Federation has high expectations for tomorrow’s Drought Summit in Canberra, says President Fiona Simson.

At the request of the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, government, farmers and representatives of rural and regional businesses and communities will converge on the capital to talk tactics on managing this drought and those into the future.

NFF President Fiona Simson said at the heart of the peak body's priorities for the Summit was the need for certainty.

“I believe it is a well accepted view, from the Prime Minister down, that we can’t afford to continue to be reactive in responding drought.

“We appreciate the support farmers have received for the current drought, from both Federal and State Governments, however our farmers would be much better served by an established, holistic plan for tackling dry times."

To this end, the NFF will ask for a new Inter-Governmental Agreement on Drought that would provide a truly national approach to preparation, response and recovery.

They will also propose that effective and affordable agricultural insurance products be available to farmers to manage drought.

“International experience shows that creating a viable agricultural insurance market depends on early government support,” Ms Simson said.

“We’re calling on the Government to consider introducing a 150% tax incentive for agricultural insurance premiums for five years."

The bolstering and refinement of the Rural Financial Counselling Service and the Farm Household Allowance are also priorities for the NFF. As are common sense changes to road rules that make the movement of agricultural vehicles easier.

Ms Simson said rule changes to farm management deposits (FMDs) would also be welcomed.

“FMDs can be a game-changer for farmers when seasons are tough but currently not enough farm businesses are using the facility.

To increase the uptake of FMDs, the NFF is seeking tax-free thresholds for off-farm income and research and development tax incentives for climate risk management.

Funding for the Bureau of Meteorology to access individual on-farm data to inform insurance decisions and the implementation of a major regenerative agriculture program that recognises the role and importance of land stewardship.

“I commend the Prime Minister on convening tomorrow’s Summit,” Ms Simson said.

“It is an opportunity, not to be squandered.

"It's a chance to get our sector together to commit to taking action on a long-term strategy that will effectively assist farmers to prepare, manage and recover from drought."

See NFF"s complete Drought Summit Priorities here www.nff.org.au/shared/6202.pdf

Media Enquiries: Laureta Wallace
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P 0408 448 250

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