How drought relief actually ends up punishing Australian farmers

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced a drought relief package for farmers

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced a drought relief package for

"That's why I've stepped in to put more money onto their tables so those that are doing it really tough have more cash", he said.

Farmers will receive immediate additional financial support to help them and their communities fight one of the worst droughts of the past century.

Today's $190 million announcement takes the federal government's drought response to $576 million, with hundreds of millions of dollars more to be announced in the next few weeks.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced an emergency relief package on August 5, whereby drought-stricken farmers could receive up to $12,000 in cash payments.

The Farm Household Allowance Scheme already provides a payment equivalent to Newstart Allowance for up to four years for eligible households. In fact, it discourages them from making the right decisions to achieve resilience.

Drought-awareness campaigner Edwina Robertson is also anxious the money simply isn't enough.

"We will stand with Australia's farming families every step of the way as they cope with this devastating drought: listening, caring, responding and delivering", Mr Turnbull said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will return to a farm in Trangie in central NSW on Sunday to announce the new package that will also provide mental health services.

"It is created to keep body and soul together, not created to pay for fodder", the Prime Minister said.

McCormack echoed the prime minister and acknowledged the important role farmers have in the nation.

"I think everyone agrees that we're seeing rainfall that is, if you like, more erratic, droughts that are more frequent and seasons that are hotter", he told the ABC.

Former deputy PM Barnaby Joyce yesterday weighed into the climate change debate and said dams were a better solution while claiming the government's action would do nothing to stop the drought.

Mr Joyce, whose NSW electorate of New England has been badly affected by drought, believes reducing emissions in Australia won't change the climate.

"It will have no difference on the climate whatsoever - zero, zip, nothing".

Several fundraising campaigns have sprung up around the country to try and help farmers buy food for their livestock.

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.

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