Australia ramps up aid to farmers as drought bites

A truck stirs up dust on a road behind a dam on the outskirts of Walgett

Australia pledges A$1.8 billion to help drought-stricken farmers

Australian farmers struggling with the worst drought in decades will have access to a 1.8 billion Australian dollars (1.3 billion US dollars) for relief, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced on Sunday.

PM Turnbull will visit Forbes, NSW today to announce phase two of the federal government's drought relief package.

"That's going to provide some more jobs and some more income into the town".

Farmers will immediately be able to deduct the costs for building new silos, hay sheds, or other storage structures, rather than let it depreciate over three years. "And fodder storage, grain storage is absolutely critical", Turnbull said.

The announcement comes two weeks after the federal government announced its last relief package and the state of New South Wales has also provided more than A$1 billion in assistance for farmers.

"One of the most important things to do if you're on the land in Australia is to prepare for drought". Regions in western Queensland and regional NSW will receive additional funding in today's announcement.

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"The Queensland Government also needs to rethink its new vegetation management laws that are making it more costly and complex for farmers to feed their animals during drought".

Australia's federal government announced on Sunday a A$1.8-billion (1.03 billion pounds) increase in funding for drought-afflicted farmers, with parts of the country's east coast suffering the driest conditions in living memory.

Farmers in Forbes, some 390km west of Sydney, are among those battling the lack of rain.

Earlier this month, the NRL pledged $100 for every point scored in the Telstra Premiership Finals Series to the Rural Aid and National Farmers Federation, for farmers heavily affected by the severe drought.

Mr Guerin said AgForce had developed an "Agricultural Business Cycle" approach to drought policy, which aims to move from the current reactive, crisis-driven response from government to empowering producers to better manage climate risk.

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