Communities across Farrer will have greater access to financial support during the drought, with an additional assistance package worth nearly $100 million announced today by the Commonwealth Government.
Local MP Sussan Ley said $33.4 million has been made available from 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 community for urgent bills such as food, petrol and utilities. This takes some of the stress off families and helps boost the local economy.
“The effects of drought are not just felt on the farm, with many rural communities and businesses suffering a downturn as people spend less in town.
“We are working 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.
“Today the Prime Minister also announced additional funding for the Drought Communities Programme (DCP), which will deliver an extra $1 million in support to Murray River Council to deliver local infrastructure and drought-relief projects.
Eleven council areas in Farrer are now receiving this assistance; including Balranald, Berrigan, Carrathool, Edward River, Federation, Hay, Leeton, Murray River, Murrumbidgee, Narrandera and Wentworth Shire.
“The government is also simplifying Farm Household Allowance applications, with changes to remove business income reconciliation, change the time limit on payment to four years in every ten, simplify the assets test and recognise agistment.
“We’ve also increased funding for the Rural Financial Counselling Service which is experiencing increased demand. It’s really important those in need of support do not self-assess their eligibility and seek advice from an expert, like a rural financial counsellor”, Ms Ley said.
For more information and to apply for assistance visit the Department of Agricultre’s website drought and rural support page, or call 1800 900 090.
*Provides up to $3,000 in assistance to households in Local Government Areas eligible within the Drought Communities Programme extension.