The Australian Government is continuing its support for drought-affected farming households by extending Round 2 of the $148.5 million Drought Community Support Initiative (DCSI) program until the end of this year.
Minister for Drought David Littleproud said the Government is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with regional Australia as it deals with the impacts of drought and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“DCSI payments of up to $3,000 are already assisting farming families to meet urgent expenses, including for food, petrol and utilities, and they have let us know how much this extra support has meant to them,” Mr Littleproud said.
“The injection of money into rural and regional communities is supporting local businesses which were already struggling financially before the COVID-19 crisis.
“The Federal Government is doing what it takes to support farming households through these extremely difficult financial and stressful times.
“Since November 2019, almost $75 million has been paid to support more than 25,000 farming households.”
The Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul Society are delivering Round 2 of DCSI to eligible farming households who live or work in one of the 180 Local Government Areas eligible for the Drought Communities Programme Extension.
“The charities advise that they are still receiving applications from farming households seeking assistance because of ongoing financial hardship,” Mr Littleproud said.
“Both are responding to requests from drought-affected families in high need, and I commend both organisations for their professionalism and hard work during these times.”
Since December 2018, the Australian Government has committed $181.5 million in financial assistance to support farming households in drought-affected communities through the DCSI.
St Vincent de Paul Society Chief Executive Officer, Toby oConnor, welcomed the ongoing help for farming households through the extension of DCSI.
“We have already assisted over 9,000 households, yet we know from our local contacts there are still many farmers, farm workers, and farm suppliers and contractors that we haven’t reached under this current round, and we want to ensure they have a chance to access the support,” Mr oConnor said.
“A farmer from NSW told me, ‘I have never felt the need for such support before as I always believed I should be able to look after myself and business. That was before the last nine months of the drought when circumstances were just terrible. It was a great help and I have my dignity intact.’
“The Saint Vincent de Paul Society is committed to ensuring as many eligible households as possible receive this important DCSI 2 payment.”
Head of Community Engagement at The Salvation Army, Stuart Glover, said this news brings some certainty to family budgets during this period.
“The extension of this funding allows us to continue to support farming households who are in need because of this ongoing drought,” Mr Glover said.
“Over the course of this initiative we have assisted over 16,000 farming households across 89 Local Government Authorities.
“One of the farmers who we supported in Queensland said ‘Thank you so much! Last year was a shocker for us with the drought conditions. I didn’t know how we were going to be able to make ends meet. These funds will help us immensely with the ongoing feed/water costs and the bills that just keep coming.’”
More information can be found at https://www.regional.gov.au/regional/programs/drought-communities.aspx