More communities in drought affected Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia will have greater access to drought assistance, thanks to a Liberal-National Government package worth nearly $100 million
The Coalition Government is responding to the ongoing drought with direct and immediate support to help farming families and communities. Member for Mackellar, Jason Falinski said $33.4 million had been made available through the Drought Community Support Initiative to provide immediate financial assistance to eligible households in hardship.
“Farming households can receive up to $3,000 to spend in their local communities to cover urgent bills such as food, petrol and utilities, taking stress off families and boosting the local economy,” Mr Falinski said.
“Drought is not just an issue for regional Australia to face alone. All across the country, including on the Northern Beaches, Australians are concerned about what is happening and have written to me urging action.”
“I know this will make a difference in regional communities where they’ve been dealing with drought for years.”
The Coalition Government will work with the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul Society to make sure this money hits the ground quickly and gets to those most in need. Under the Drought Communities Programme Extension another 13 councils will have access to up to $1 million each to complete local infrastructure and drought-relief projects.
“This will boost local economies, create jobs, engage local businesses and provide a long-lasting benefit to the community and the rural industries it depends on,” Mr Falinski said.
The government will also simplify Farm Household Allowance applications. The changes will remove business income reconciliation, change the time limit on payment to four years in every ten, simplify the assets test and recognise adjustment.
"These changes will make FHA quicker and easier to access,” Mr Falinski said.
The government also announced an injection of $740,000 of contingency funding to five Rural Financial Counselling Service providers who are experiencing pressure from increased demand.
“We are so fortunate to live here on the Northern Beaches, and while we may not directly feel the impacts of this drought in the same way as regional Australia – I have been amazed by how many Northern Beaches residents are writing to me urging the government to do more, and so that is what we are doing.” Mr Falinski said.
For more information and to apply for assistance visit http://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought