Immediate assistance for farmers and cash injection for New England communities

24th Jan 2019

Submitted

More drought support is now available to farmers in the New England through the Liberal Nationals Government’s $30 million Drought Community Support Initiative.

Member for New England and Special Envoy for Drought Assistance and Recovery, Barnaby Joyce, said the support packages of up to $3,000 per household, include up to $2,000 in cash and $1,000 in vouchers.

“This is tangible assistance people can use immediately and we’ve made sure these vouchers are redeemed at local businesses, supporting the towns which support our farmers,” Mr Joyce said.

“It will not only help the farmer in Merriwa, or the family property at Inverell, but entire communities in those towns and more across the New England.

“This money goes from the farm to the towns so the whole community benefits.

“It’s about keeping farmers on the land and our communities strong during this record drought.”

The community support initiative is being delivered in addition to drought assistance already in place by the Federal Government, such as drought funding for all 10 local councils in the New England, Farm Household Allowance, concessional loans and mental health support.

The Liberal Nationals Government has committed nearly $7 billion for drought support including more than $25 million to improve mental health services in drought areas.

Minister for Regional Services and Nationals Senator for Victoria, Bridget McKenzie, said getting practical support to those facing financial pressure because of the severe, long-term drought was a top priority.

“I am pleased to confirm the $30 million Drought Community Support Initiative is up and running,” Minister McKenzie said.

“We are continuing to work with trusted not-for-profit organisations and I am pleased that The Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul Society and Rotary Australia World Community Service are delivering this assistance on behalf of the Liberal Nationals Government.

“These community organisations are experienced in delivering cash and vouchers and, importantly, can provide immediate relief across all of the eligible Local Government Areas.”

To be eligible to receive this assistance, an individual from a household must be 18 years or older, a farmer, farm worker or farm supplier/contractor who lives or works in one of the 81 eligible Local Government Areas (all 10 LGAs in the New England are eligible) and suffering financial hardship as a result of the drought.

The initiative is a stream under the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities’ Drought Communities Program, which supports the most drought-affected regions of Australia by funding eligible Local Government Areas for local infrastructure projects and other drought-relief activities.

For more information about eligibility and accessing support visit:

The Salvation Army:

  • 24 hour assistance line: 02 8757 8088
  • salvos.org.au/drought

St Vincent de Paul:

  • Assistance Line: 13 18 12
  • www.vinnies.org.au

Rotary Australia World Community Service:

  • rawcs.org.au

Government drought support

  • www.agriculture.gov.au/drought

 Region-based mental health services:

  • www.healthdirect.gov.au

For immediate mental health support, you can contact:

  • Lifeline on 13 11 14
  • Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
  • MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
  • Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467

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