Successful regional small businesses = successful communities
26 October 2018
The Liberal National government will extend the Drought Communities Program (DCP) to another twenty-one local councils across Australia to help support communities doing it tough during the current drought.
The Federal Minister for Regional Services Senator Bridget McKenzie said that the DCP had been an vital part of the response to the drought so far because it recognised the flow-on effects of the tough times for farmers affect far more than just their own farm.
“We understand that there are consequences for everyone in regional towns as the drought hits hard. The farmers are the first to feel it through high feed prices and less return on their crops but the costs then flow through the whole community,” Minister Bridget McKenzie said.
“As farmers are hit hard, their capacity to spend on farm essentials in their local towns is reduced. That then puts pressure on the owners of the businesses that they buy from.
“By extending the DCP to another 21 local councils, more communities can apply, helping to keep more money in these regions and people in jobs
“This brings the total number of councils that can access up to a million dollars each to a total of 81 councils across New South Wales, Queensland Victoria and South Australia.
“It’s a significant investment in local communities by the Liberal National Government and it’s targeted directly at the bottom line of regional economies by bringing in local councils to deploy the funding. Local government knowledge is critical to ensuring our funding hits the right spot, and gives farmers and business owners alike confidence they can rebound when the drought breaks”, Senator McKenzie said.
In extending the program to an extra 21 local councils, the level of need—using rainfall deficiency data from the Bureau of Meteorology, population and industry data (reliance on agriculture)—to assess the overall economic impact of the drought in the region was examined.
DCP projects demonstrate the Liberal-National’s focus on delivering practical solutions for the drought-affected communities by supporting local projects which not only will help them respond to the drought but will also provide a much needed boost for local economies.
The projects range from construction wild dog exclusion fencing and rehabilitating our sporting ovals to installing new water bores, constructing a desalination plant in the community of Ilfracombe that is experiencing prolonged drought.
Local labour and local business and suppliers will be used to maximise the economic benefits for our regions. Councils are actively encouraged to hire labourers and contractors who may be suffering significant business down turn, or have been let go from on-farm work due to the ongoing drought.
“The best thing about the DCP program is that it’s a direct economic stimulation in local towns across the country, that will boost economic activity and support jobs at a time when our farmers are feeling under pressure,” Minister McKenzie said.
“This funding is about local councils using local people, buying goods from local stores and using local skills to keep money flowing through the community.”
DCP funding is targeted at projects that stimulate local community spending, use local resources, businesses and suppliers, and/or provide a long-lasting benefit to communities and the agricultural industries on which they depend.
The funding allows councils to choose projects that will have the biggest impact.
The 81 eligible local government areas that can receive funding under the DCP—Extension are as follows:
New South Wales
- Armidale Regional
- Bega Valley
- Broken Hill
- Central Darling
- Dubbo Regional
- Glen Innes Severn Shire
- Liverpool Plains
- Mid-Western Regional
- Moree Plains
- Tamworth Regional
- Unincorporated Far West
- Upper Hunter
- Blackall Tambo
- Lockyer Valley
- South Burnett
- Southern Downs
- East Gippsland
- Barunga West
- Clare and Gilbert Valleys
- Franklin Harbour
- Karoonda East Murray
- Loxton Waikerie
- Mid Murray
- Mount Remarkable
- Northern Areas
- Southern Mallee
- Streaky Bay