Local News

Support is coming face-to-face to the Upper Hunter to help drought affected farmers

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Support is coming face-to-face to the Upper Hunter today (Tuesday 5th February) to help drought-affected farmers. 

The Drought Community Outreach Convoy is in Scone from 9am to 12pm at Scone Bowling Club, 28 Gundy Street Scone.

New England MP and Special Envoy for Drought Assistance and Recovery, Barnaby Joyce, said government agencies will be on hand to assess individual situations and provide assistance accessing drought support.

“People are busy enough in drought without having to drive hundreds of kilometres to seek support, so government service providers are coming to see them in town,” said Barnaby Joyce.

Australian Government agencies available will include the Australian Tax Office, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (including Rural Financial Counsellors and the Regional Investment Corporation), Department of Human Services, Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities and the Department of Jobs and Small Business.

They will be supported by the NBN Co’s Sky Muster satellite vehicles which will be providing a free WiFi service to assist in lodging online claims for drought assistance.

“It’s not only financial assistance that this visit can help with, but it’s also about making sure people are in the right mental space as well,” he said.

“We want to ensure people across the New England have the best support we can provide and that’s what these days are all about.”

The Scone visit follows trips to Parkes, Forbes and Condobolin in mid-January before more than a dozen stops to more NSW towns in the coming weeks.

“People are doing it tough, and some are reluctant to ask for help because they think other people are worse off than them, but there is plenty of support to go around,” Minister for Regional Services, Sport, Local Government and Decentralisation Bridget McKenzie said.

“We have established a $5 billion Future Drought Fund that guarantees support against future droughts faced by farmers and communities in rural and regional Australia along with boosting the Drought Communities Program and increased the number of local councils that can apply for funding up to 81. This provides an opportunity for each of these communities to invest $1 million to stimulate their local economies."

Image credit: Grant Broadcasters/Jessica Rouse