Australia's Turnbull: 'Now we are the land of droughts'

The farm has made little income in recent years and when they run out of hay in a few months, rising hay prices will leave them in a financial situation her family has never had to contend with in more than a 100 years, she says.

And look at the kinds of academic research we fund: $468,000 for the Australian National University to "investigate warfare in the ancient Tongan state through a study of earthwork fortifications" and $340,000 for the University of Wollongong to study how "socially engaged art" can "catalyse new dialogue between farmers, scientists, environmentalists and policy makers" on the Great Barrier Reef.

Ash Whitney from Goohli is one of many NSW farmers struggling through record drought conditions.

"We look forward to sitting down and working with the government on more targeted drought measures".

Severe droughts are affecting several states across the nation.

Some parts of Queensland have been in drought for seven years.

And with no decent rain on the horizon, not knowing when the nightmare will end is one of the most distressing things, grain grower John Eastburn says.

"AgForce has been advocating for many years for the asset threshold to be lifted so this announcement today will make a big difference to many drought-affected farming families".

Turnbull also paid tribute to farmers for their resilience.

Mr Maudsley also commended the private sector organisations, charities, media outlets and individuals who had continued to provide support for drought-affected communities. "When farmers do it well the whole nation benefits, when farmers do it tough, as they are now the whole nation suffers", he said during the press conference.

He says every area of farming technology is improving all the time but we do have the problem of a very volatile climate - and it appears to be getting more volatile as time goes by.

Under the new arrangements farmers can now receive a fourth year of assistance from the FHA, when previously they could receive three years' of assistance.

"A lot of farmers, we're using that a week", farmer Anto White from Belltrees in the Upper Hunter tells me.

However the Department of Agriculture estimated that there may be 19,000 farmers eligible for Farm Household Allowance who had not yet applied for it.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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