MORE SUPPORT FOR COMMUNITIES AFFECTED BY DROUGHT

Funding for farmers, small businesses, families and schools in drought-affected communities across Australia will now start rolling out as part of a $57 million support package. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was important that those people and businesses suffering from the drought continued to get the support they need.

“While we know the nation has been gripped in recent months by the bushfire crisis I want all Australians impacted by drought to know that you have remained firmly in our Government’s focus,” the Prime Minister said. “You remain at the centre of relief, response and recovery plans for the future and making Australia more resilient to these challenges in the future.

“This funding will support local tourism initiatives, new infrastructure and amenities, and funding to help non-government schools facing financial hardship as a result of drought.”

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Minister for Drought David Littleproud said an additional 52 councils would now receive up to $1 million under the extended Drought Communities Programme, determined by rainfall data and both agricultural and broader employment information.

“We will distribute $47 million to drought effected areas based on population, providing councils of less than 1,000 people with $500,000 and those with a larger population with $1 million to ensure we continue to provide appropriate, tailored support,” Minister Littleproud said.

“Drought doesn’t just hurt farmers, it goes out the farm gate. It hurts small businesses and the wider community as well, but this extra funding keeps money flowing through affected areas. “Funding will support events that create jobs, boost tourism and improve community wellbeing, and enable the construction of infrastructure that encourages people to stop in these small towns.

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“So far, the DCP extension has funded over 300 projects, such as the construction of amenities blocks, potable water supply, local tourism assets, community resilience events and employing local drought support officers.”

Minister for Education Dan Tehan said the Government was committing an additional $10 million to ensure families affected by drought are supported to continue accessing education. “We have doubled our drought relief support for non-government schools to $20 million to help more schools across New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia keep their doors open,” Minister Tehan said.

“Many of these schools have been taking money out of their own pockets to waive fees and subsidise fees to ensure that families can continue to send their children to school. “This additional funding will ensure students don’t have their education interrupted as a result of financial hardship caused by drought.”

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Since the election the Government has rolled out more than $1 billion in extra grants and payments to support drought-affected communities. Today in Orange the advisory board of the National Drought and North Queensland Flood Response and Recovery Agency will meet for the first time, working with the National Farmers Federation to improve access to support programs for affected farms and communities across all levels of government.