Immediate drought assistance available in the New England
Communities across the New England will have increased access to drought assistance, with the Coalition Government rolling out a further $100 million in financial aid to farmers and rural communities. A key component of the funding is an additional $33.4 million to be delivered under the Drought Community Support Initiative for immediate financial assistance to eligible households in hardship.
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.
Member for New England Barnaby Joyce said that 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 local economies.
“Crucially, this payment is also available to farm workers and contractors many who are also struggling financially through a lack of work and deserve assistance as well,” Mr Joyce said.
“People in the New England are at the epicentre of this drought and its effects are not just felt on the farm – regional communities and businesses suffer as people spend less in towns.”
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 agistment.
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.
“It’s really important that those in need of support do not self-assess their eligibility and instead seek advice from an expert, like a rural financial counsellor,” he said.
For more information and to apply for assistance visit www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farmfood/drought or call 1800 900 090.