Drought-ravaged farmers urged to seek help

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The cash payments help form a drought relief package of 190 million Australian dollars (140.6 million US dollars) for the dry spell that has cut across large parts of the country's east and south including New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.

"We, as a government, are right there by their side, right behind them, and supporting them all the way".

A truck stirs up dust on a road behind a dam on farmer May McKeown's drought-affected property located on the outskirts of the northwestern New South Wales town of Walgett in Australia, July 19, 2018.

Ash Whitney from Goohli is one of many NSW farmers struggling through record drought conditions.

The opposition Labor party has criticized the aid as long overdue and said the government should also be focusing more on climate change and its consequences to find ways of coping with droughts in the long term.

The government is also setting money aside in a bid to cover the mental health of farmers.

General president Grant Maudsley said more than half of Queensland was still drought-declared, and the prolonged nature of the drought in the state was taking an enormous financial, emotional and environmental toll on many regional communities.

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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"These emergency cash payments will help those farmers who have had little or no income, while the changes to the asset cap will ensure more farmers are eligible for assistance".

This increase will give farming families.

He says every area of farming technology is improving all the time but we do have the problem of a very volatile climate - and it appears to be getting more volatile as time goes by.

"The Eyre Peninsula has been severely affected, and livestock farmers in particular are having to make tough decisions, " Mr Whetstone said.

His comments come as Agriculture Minister David Littleproud was slammed for claiming a connection between man-made climate change and the drought was a "big call".

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack urged reluctant farmers to put their hands up.

The Federal Government says another phase of drought support will be announced in coming weeks.

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