A $15 million extension has been added to the Drought Communities Program, with 15 additional councils now eligible to apply for funding under the program.
Minister for Regional Services, Sport, Local Government and Decentralisation Bridget McKenzie said the extension brought the total funding for drought relief projects in the worst-affected local government areas to $96 million.
“We have identified which local government areas across Australia are the most drought-affected, taking into account Bureau of Meteorology data and the proportion of the workforce employed in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector to assess the impact of drought in the region,” Minister McKenzie said.
“As a result of this review, 15 more councils were identified to be heavily drought affected, taking the total number of councils eligible for this program from 81 to 96. Minister McKenzie said the newly eligible councils span across New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.
“These councils will have until the end of 2019 to apply for and complete their projects,” she said.
“We know that drought is felt as hard on the main street as it is in the back paddock which is why our drought response is designed to help farmers as well as the towns and communities that surround them”.
“This funding targets some of the worst hit areas, making it possible for councils to implement important infrastructure projects and other drought-relief activities.”
Funding has been used for a wide variety of projects that assist farmers and residents such as the Bollon Town Common Fencing Upgrade, which will renew fences for better management of stock close to main roads in the Balonne Shire, and the Unsealed Road Infrastructure Upgrade, which will install water filling stations closer to farmers and upgrading cattle grids in the Tamworth Shire. Becoming eligible for the DCP Extension also enables farmers, farm workers and suppliers/contractors to apply for the Drought Community Support Initiative (DCSI).
The DCSI provides up to $3,000 per eligible drought-affected household. Arrangements are being finalised to ensure this valuable support can become available as soon as possible through providers including St Vincent de Paul and The Salvation Army.
Further information on the program and a list of eligible councils is available at https://www.business.gov.au/assistance/drought-communities-programme