Michael Johnsen MP, Member for Upper Hunter has welcomed the news that the NSW Nationals in Government have announced it will spearhead a campaign to establish a nation-wide income protection scheme to safeguard farmers from the financial impacts of future droughts.
“Our primary producers are facing one of the worst droughts in living memory and the NSW Nationals in Government want to ensure farmers never suffer the same financial hardship again,” Mr. Johnsen said.
“That’s why the NSW Nationals in Government are putting cash on the table to identify potential models that could be used to protect farmers against income loss in future droughts or even natural disasters.
“Farmers in our Upper Hunter electorate have been impacted hard by the current drought and many of them have raised with me the idea that we should be looking at potential insurance schemes to mitigate income loss during times of hardship.
“I’m incredibly proud the NSW Nationals in Government who are demonstrating leadership on this issue and spearheading what could be a nation-wide scheme to combat the impacts of drought,” Mr. Johnsen said.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said: “We’re starting with a blank canvass here in terms of what a potential scheme could look like and that’s why it’s important all parties come together and work collaboratively to design a scheme that genuinely benefits farmers.
“The NSW Liberals & Nationals in Government have already committed $1.8 billion to drought assistance measures but we need to be looking forward to the next dry spell and thinking of innovative ways to help reduce its sting.”
Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall said a national income protection scheme was the best measure to help farmers combat drought.
“The best drought assistance measure a government can deliver is to help the agricultural industry to self-insure,” Mr Marshall said.
“As this drought rolls on it’s obvious we need to be looking at ways to roll out a product that would cover all producers – whether croppers, graziers or horticulturalists –
against the devastating loss of income that comes with drought and other natural events.
“This is something that has been called for by the agricultural sector for a very long time but so far insurance products have largely been constrained to individual production sectors within the industry.
“We’re putting money on the table and are determined to get this up and running. The Commonwealth and all other State Governments need to get involved and back this in too.”
The NSW Nationals in Government will investigate potential risk mitigation models that could be used to protect farm incomes during times of drought or other hardship, such as natural disasters. The project will involve looking at other comparable models in overseas jurisdictions as well as the best way to deliver the product across Australia.