Our Government continues to stand with our drought-affected farmers and regional communities. It’s not a set-and-forget response. We continue to listen to farmers and communities affected and will continue to respond.
Our National Drought Response Plan has three parts:
1. HELPING THOSE AFFECTED RIGHT NOW
First, and most immediately, we’re helping farmers and graziers who are doing it tough, right now.
We’ve helped over 12,000 farming families, with around $100,000, paid over four years. That’s not a loan, it doesn’t ever have to be paid back. It’s there to help them get through.
Some other initiatives include:
- Helping farmers do work on their farms right now to deal with the drought, like installing new bores, pipes and weirs through our $50 million commitment in rebates for on-farm emergency water infrastructure.
- Providing generous interest free concessional loans to help farmers prepare for, manage through and recover from drought that can save them up to $60,000 in interest a year.
- Providing tax relief for farmers, with $75 million in taxation measures, including accelerated fodder storage asset depreciation and the Farm Management Deposit Scheme.
- Providing Rural Financial Counselling to help with financial planning, mentoring and coaching.
2. SUPPORTING WIDER COMMUNITIES
We’re supporting those communities that depend on our farmers and are the heart of this country.
- We have an additional $1 million available for economic stimulus for the 122 councils that have already receive funding if they need more support, and 6 new councils are now eligible to receive payments. This creates local jobs through local projects, which helps employ local tradies, supports businesses and help the community through the toughest part of the drought.
- A $50 million fund to provide additional economic stimulus to councils in 2020.
- More funding for drought affected councils through the Roads to Recovery Program. This $138 million will create jobs, stimulate the local economy and build better, safer roads.
- Keeping kids at school, with $10 million for schools and $5 million to ensure early learning centres remain viable in drought affected areas.
- $70 million funding local charities, like St Vincent de Paul, the Salvation Army, and the Country Women’s Association to provide support, including counselling.
- A special drought round of the Building Better Regions Fund, to fund community-led infrastructure projects in drought affected areas.
3. BUILDING A MORE DROUGHT RESILIENT AUSTRALIA
We are building a more drought resilient Australia, establishing the $5 billion Future Drought Fund and by putting the infrastructure in place to help us deal with future droughts.
- From our $3.5 billion water funds, we have 21 water infrastructure projects committed to, or on the go right now, all across the country.
- We have also reached agreement with the South Australian Government, to secure up to 100 gigalitres of extra water for the Southern Murray Darling basin to grow fodder. This will produce around 120,000 tonnes of feed for animals, while also supporting rural communities along the Murray.
If you’re a farmer or business affected by the drought and in need, for a one-stop shop with all the information about the services and support available, visit www.farmhub.org.au
Otherwise, call the below numbers:
▶ To get financial assistance: 13 23 16
▶ To talk to a rural financial counsellor: 1800 686 175
▶ To talk to someone if you’re experiencing stress or anxiety: