PM defends drought package amid climate change stoush

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

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

"There are many, many farmers who at the moment haven't actually made themselves available of the assistance that is there for them, and we urge and encourage them to do just that", Mr McCormack told ABC radio on Tuesday.

But there's some concern that farmers in need won't be eligible for the payment and it'll take too long to get the cash in their hands.

Drought-awareness campaigner Edwina Robertson says the money isn't enough.

NSW Farmers president James Jackson, said his organisation was pleased that a key issue raised with the Government - that the assets test was too low and disqualified many farmers in real need- had been addressed in the announcement.

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has warned that the country has become a "land of drought" as he announced further measures to help stricken farmers.

"We want to keep body and soul together, and that will flow cash into the local communities".

The Government this morning also committed to investing an extra $5 million in the Rural Financial Counselling Service, which will provide additional support for farmers - particularly those applying for the FHA for the first time; and$11.4 million in mental health support initiatives including additional funding for Primary Health Networks in drought affected areas to cope with increased demand.

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".

But Malcolm Turnbull says farmers are also finding new ways of resisting drought. You should never regard Australian farmers as being helpless at all in the face of the climate.

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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