Ministers for the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities The Hon Michael McCormack MP Deputy Prime MinisterMinister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie Minister for Regional ServicesMinister for SportMinister for Local Government and Decentralisation The Hon Alan Tudge MP Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population The Hon Sussan Ley MP Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories The Hon Andrew Gee MP Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister The Hon Andrew Broad MP Former Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister The Hon Scott Buchholz MP Assistant Minister for Roads and Transport The Hon Barnaby Joyce MPFormer Deputy Prime MinisterFormer Minister for Infrastructure and Transport The Hon Dr John McVeigh MPFormer Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government The Hon Keith Pitt MPFormer Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister The Hon Damian Drum MPFormer Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Senator the Hon Fiona Nash Former Minister for Regional DevelopmentFormer Minister for Local Government and Territories The Hon Darren Chester MP Former Minister for Infrastructure and TransportFormer A/g Minister for Regional DevelopmentFormer A/g Minister for Local Government and Territories The Hon Warren Truss MP Former Deputy Prime Minister Former Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development The Hon Paul Fletcher MP Former Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities The Hon Jamie Briggs MP Former Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development

A much-needed Christmas financial lift for drought-affected Australian families

Media Release

BM013/2018

18 December 2018

Drought-affected families are receiving a welcome and much-needed financial lift on the eve of Christmas.

Not-for-profit organisations The Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul Society and Rotary Australia World Community Service are now providing financial support from the Liberal & Nationals Government’s $30 million Drought Community Support Initiative to people across parts of drought-hit Australia.

Minister for Regional Services and Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie said delivering support in time for Christmas was a top priority.

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

“It will provide immediate assistance to at least 10,000 farming households facing hardship because of the drought.

“Practical support of up to $3000 per household, including up to $2000 to help pay the bills and $1000 in vouchers, will be welcome relief this Christmas.

“Hopefully it can bring some cheer to the thousands of eligible farmers, farm workers or farm suppliers and contractors who are struggling to pay everyday bills, including basics such as food, petrol and utilities.”

Christmas is supposed to be a time for family and sharing but this can also put extra pressure on those doing it tough during the drought.

Minister McKenzie said the three charity organisations were chosen because they were already on the ground in drought regions and were best suited to deliver this assistance on behalf of the Government and can start providing immediate relief across all of the eligible Local Government Areas. Just like so many Australians that have donated generously to support our drought affected communities the Government is contributing to charities to support these communities.

“Other respected organisations have expressed an interest in helping to deliver the program, which we will certainly explore in the future.

The Minister said a key element of the support was the provision of vouchers to be redeemed at local businesses.

“The injection of money spent in rural and regional communities will help boost local businesses that are also struggling due to drought,” Minister McKenzie said.

Regional Australia accounts for around two-thirds of our nation’s exports and employs hundreds of thousands of Australians.

The Drought Community Support Initiative was announced by the Liberal & Nationals Government at the National Drought Summit on October 26, 2018.

The initiative is part of the Liberal & Nationals Government’s 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.

Along with the $30 million for individuals and families hit by drought $23 million has been secured in 66 projects for the Drought Communities program with more projects approved each week. Councils are delivering projects this financial year, employing local workers and suppliers to help promote their local economy.

Further information:

The Salvation Army:
24 hour assistance line: 02 8757 8088
Website: salvos.org.au/drought 

St Vincent de Paul:
Assistance Line: 13 18 12
Website: vinnies.org.au/ 

Rotary Australia World Community Service:
Website: rawcs.org.au/