PM Turnbull Promises Emergency Relief to Drought-Stricken Farmers in Regional Australia

That scheme will now provide two lump sum supplementary payments worth up to $12,000

That scheme will now provide two lump sum supplementary payments worth up to $12,000

Instead of low-interest loans and cashback subsidies, the federal government is, for the first time, giving out lump-sum cash payments.

'Our farmers put the food on our table and the fibre on our back. We admire their courage and we stand with them.

Farmers whose incomes have been cut drastically by the drought conditions can already receive some A$16,000 a year in unemployment benefits.

There are serious concerns the application process for the public money is far too convoluted.

Drought-awareness campaigner Edwina Robertson broke down when she met the PM after his $190 million announcement on Sunday. "My great-grandfather settled on this land in 1901, and he never had to remove cattle from the paddocks over there", she says pointing to the west.

The package will also include extra funding for mental health initiatives, with Australian farmers being at a significantly higher risk of depression and suicide than urban dwellers.

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

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

When pop star Rihanna tweeted Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in February, asking them to help the Global Partnership for Education earlier this year, Bishop's department nearly immediately coughed up a $90 million pledge to support the education of foreign children.

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", he told Sky News.

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.

Ms Simpson said Australia needed to understand the effects of climate change to continue as a world leader.

"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 said.

"Australian farmers are not helpless".

Their concerns have been echoed by NSW agriculture minister Niall Blair, who is anxious attention on farmers shooting animals or leaving them to starve will undermine Australia's standing as a meat-producing nation.

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