Australia announces extra $140m aid for drought-hit farmers

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

Large swathes of eastern Australia are in one of the worst droughts of the past 100 years, prompting the government to announce a $190 million relief package.

Today's Federal Government package will also include extra funding for mental health support, and brings the Government's spending on drought measures to $576 million.

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.

A few weeks back Crikey optimistically wondered if, by emphasising the need for resilience on the part of farmers in the face of drought and climate change, Malcolm Turnbull was ushering in a new, more sensible approach to drought relief. It appears we're going into a dry Spring and a tough Summer.

Announcing the additional funding from a farm in the state, Mr Turnbull said: "Now we are the land of droughts and flooding rains, we recognise that".

The prime minister has flagged more government support if the drought continues to pile pressure on farmers.

"We can't make it rain".

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We need to do a better job of looking after them.

The NSW Farmers' Association and Queensland's AgForce both welcomed the federal government's announcement.

According to Brian Egan of Aussie Helpers, a charity for farmers, the sheer amount of paperwork to access the Farm Household Allowance means farmers have to spend about $2000 on an accountant to verify their figures every month.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has forecast still drier conditions and says there is no end in sight to the drought.

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

"It has been extremely heartening to see Australians rally around our farmers and rural communities during these tough times", he said.

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