Dry conditions in the far north
01 April 2014
Posted 01 April 2014.
The SA Arid Lands Natural Resources Management Board is working closely with Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) to monitor the severity of the extended dry in the north.
On some pastoral leases there has not been a significant rain for two years, which is cause for growing concern over water supplies, stock condition, land condition and of course cash flows for pastoral businesses.
Darryl Bell from Dulkaninna Station is representing the Board in a regional coordination and leadership taskforce that is providing the key link between the region and government in considering the situation.
Others in the group are representatives from the Outback Communities Authority, Regional Development Australia Far North, the Pastoral Board, the Rural Financial Counselling Service, and PIRSA.
The SAAL NRM Board also has its feelers out through its district-based NRM Group members who provide feedback on conditions and needs.
The taskforce will assist in the delivery of the recently announced package of support announced by the State Government and which includes opportunities for approvals for triple road trains to move stock, individual management advice and review of business plans, and increased presence of the Rural Financial Counselling Service.
Some elements of the Australian Government’s recently announced $320 million drought assistance scheme could potentially provide further support for the region.
That package initially includes:
- more generous criteria for accessing income support to farmers from 3 March 2014 instead of 1 July 2014
- drought Concessional Loans totaling $280 million to give eligible farm businesses the resources to recover from the effects of drought
- $12 million to be added to existing emergency water infrastructure schemes, including supplementing those in New South Wales and Queensland
- $10 million in assistance for pest management in drought affected areas
- $10.7 million to help increase access to social and mental health services in communities affected by this drought.
The announcement focused on New South Wales and Queensland. With the SAAL NRM Board’s support, the South Australian Government is working to have more of the scheme extended to our state, where the conditions are not unlike those across the border.
The SAAL NRM Board has been encouraged by PIRSA to develop project proposals in anticipation of the scheme’s details being finalised, and in the hope that South Australia will be eligible to apply.
We expect to be able to bring you further information on the implications of the drought assistance scheme in the April edition of ‘Across The Outback’ (link to ATO) and through the NRM Groups.
For more information
If you have concerns about land condition or the support measures, contact your local NRM group or contact the Natural Resources Centre.