Coalition goes bush to announce drought support, ag shows funds

Election campaign goes bush on drought support, ag shows

Federal Election National News
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack visit Premium Fresh carrot farm in Tasmania last week. Photo Dominic Lorrimer.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack visit Premium Fresh carrot farm in Tasmania last week. Photo Dominic Lorrimer.

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PM to pay a visit to Dubbo to unveil the Coalition's new commitments to rural communities.

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The Coalition is rolling out more campaign announcements in the bush on Saturday, unveiling an additional $57.4 million for drought support and $31m for agricultural shows.

"Strong regions and farms and key to our plan for a stronger economy. Our regional communities are Australia's engine room," said Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who will announce the new funding ion Dubbo tomorrow.

"We're bringing the country to the city by backing our agricultural shows and education programs that help our children understand how things get from the paddock to their plate."

On the drought front, the Coalition will extend several existing support measures for farmers and rural communities.

The cut-ff to receive assistance through the Farm Household Allowance (FHA) household allowance was temporarily extended from net assets worth $2.6 million up to $5.2m.

The Coalition will invest $36.4m in making the threshold increase permanent.

There is also an extra $7m for the Drought Communities Small Business Support Program and $14m to extend the Drought Communities Program to 14 more local councils.

Lastly, the Coalition will offer concessional loans to drought affected farmers via the Regional Investment Corporation for restocking and replanting.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said a future Coalition government would extend support to rural business grappling with drought-depressed economies.

"If re-elected, we will commit $7m to establish a pilot rural financial counselling service to help small regional and rural businesses with financial planning, mentoring and coaching," he said.

"Around 45 specialist counsellors will be employed in rural communities around the country where drought is having a major impact on local small businesses."

Deputy PM and Nationals Leader Michael McCormack said the Coalition's investment in agricultural shows would help sustain "a wonderful part of country life".

The Regional Agricultural Show Development Grants Program will get a $20m funds injection, and there's an extra $720,000 for Agricultural Shows Australia to promote the value of Australian agriculture.

The Coalition also announced a new initiative, to cost $10m, to take city kids to farms so Australians children see how agricultural products get from paddock to plate.

"(Rural shows) are fantastic family days - bringing people together, they celebrate local achievements and great local produce and they give community groups a chance to raise much-needed funding," Mr McCormack said.

"That investment can often support local small businesses such as accommodation and restaurants."

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