Local News

Federal Government increases total drought assistance to $1.8 billion

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The Federal Government has increased their total drought assistance to $1.8 billion.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull made the announcement at Forbes on Sunday that 60 drought-affected Council’s would be receiving $1 million cash In hand to help farmers where they need from trucking water into town to building new infrastructure works.

It’s a part of the Turnbull Government’s Drought Communities Programme which has been boosted by $75 million this financial year to help local council needs.

Muswellbrook Shire Council and Upper Hunter Shire Council, as well as Tamworth Regional and Liverpool Plains Councils, are also among those who will receive the initial $1 million in funding.

Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government John McVeigh said the fund would provide immediate help for regional communities doing it tough.

“This is a terrible drought affecting the livelihoods and wellbeing of our farmers and regional communities, particularly those in New South Wales and Queensland. This fund targets those most seriously impacted by the drought,” John McVeigh said.

“We need to continue doing all we can to ensure these communities have the support they need to make it through the tough times.”

Councils will be invited to submit appropriate projects, which address local conditions and needs. The program will prioritise projects that use local businesses to the greatest degree possible.

Also announced over the weekend was that concessional loans would be doubled for farmers from $1 million to $2 million.

The Bureau of Meteorology will also be getting a boost to ensure farmers are getting the most accurate and localised weather reports and advice.

The Federal Government is also looking at spending around $70 million for future proofing water in drought-stricken communities across the country.

Image credit: Grant Broadcasters/Jessica Rouse