More money for cash-strapped drought communities

The Australian Government has extended the Drought Community Support Initiative (DSCI), providing a further $82.75 million to continue crucial support for farming households battling the continuing drought.

On top of this, further drought relief support will also be available under a new Drought Community Outreach program.

Minister for Drought David Littleproud said the DCSI extension meant up to $3,000 in cash payments for more farmers, farm workers and farm contractors and suppliers who are experiencing financial hardship and struggling to pay for basic household expenses.

“This step-up in support follows the Government’s announcement last month that an additional 52 Local Government Areas (LGAs) are eligible to apply for the Drought Communities Programme (DCP) Extension, supporting communities in the most drought-affected agricultural regions of Australia by investing in economy-stimulating local infrastructure initiatives," Minister Littleproud said.

Eligible farming households in these 52 new LGAs will now be able to access the DCSI from mid to late March, from either The Salvation Army or the St Vincent de Paul Society.

“The Government is doing what it takes to support farming households through these extremely difficult financial and stressful times,” Minister Littleproud said.

"Under the new Drought Community Outreach program, the Country Women’s Association (CWA) and Rotary Australia World Community Service would each receive a further $5 million to provide vouchers of up to $500 to farming households experiencing hardship due to drought.

“Led by the Coordinator-General for Drought, the Hon Shane Stone AC QC, the National Drought and North Queensland Flood Response and Recovery Agency is bringing a renewed focus to working in partnership with all levels of government, farmers, regional communities and small businesses, industry and not-for-profit organisations to respond to the current drought, as well as prepare for future droughts.

“CWA and Rotary will also partner with the National Drought and North Queensland Flood Response and Recovery Agency to support community outreach activities.

“Given the local knowledge and expertise in regional Australia possessed by members of the CWA and Rotary, it made good sense for the Agency to partner with them in its community outreach activities throughout 2020.”

Today’s announcement takes the Government’s commitment of providing the DCSI to drought-affected farming households to over $180 million since 2018.

The Government will also support people and families and coming off the four-year Farm Household Allowance. Those who are finishing up their time on FHA will receive a one off relief payment which is equivalent to a further six months on FHA.

Supporting drought-affected communities remains the Government’s most urgent priority and we will continue to monitor the situation. If more farmers continue to face tough times, there is legislation in place to extend the relief payment.

Media contact 

Douglas Ferguson, 0455 448 985