The federal government, the National Farmers Federation and banks are working together through a new drought finance taskforce.
The taskforce is designed to leverage resources and share insights on ways in which the government and banks could further support drought-affected farmers, and rural and regional small businesses.
The group will include the treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who will serve as chair, the minister for agriculture and water resources David Littleproud, who will serve as deputy chair, drought special envoy Barnaby Joyce, regional Queensland member of parliament John McVeigh, a senior representative from the National Farmers Federation and a senior representative from ANZ, the Commonwealth Bank, the National Australia Bank, Rabobank and Westpac.
The initiative will consider and respond to the impact of the drought to farmers, but also small businesses that depend on farming activities.
The taskforce will leverage government, business and industry resources in rural and regional communities to further determine the impact that the drought has had or is having on farmers and local small businesses.
It will establish mechanisms to share insights in a timely manner and it will advise the government, bank CEOs and the National Farmers Federation on drought impacts as well as further measures that could help alleviate the impact on farmers and local small businesses.
The establishment of the taskforce follows the drought roundtable held by Littleproud in early July at which banks and farm groups discussed financial literacy issues and farm management deposits.
The government continues to prioritise regional and rural communities affected by the drought, as demonstrated by the expansion of the $1.8 billion drought assistance package.
The taskforce is an additional way for government, business and industry to work together and ensure that they are not only receiving the most up-to-date information, but also able to respond quickly, so farmers and local small businesses receive the additional support they need, as soon as possible.