Drought affected communities in Grey will have greater access to assistance thanks to a new Federal Government package worth nearly $100 million Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said today.
“We are responding to the ongoing drought with direct and immediate support to help farming families and communities,” he said. “The Drought Community Support Initiative will be provided with $33.4 million to provide immediate financial assistance to eligible households in hardship.
“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 the local economy.
“The effects of the drought are not just felt on the farm – regional communities and businesses suffer as people spend less in towns.
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.
Mr Ramsey said the Government will also simplify Farm Household Allowance applications. “The difficulty in filling out applications for Farm Household Assistance is raised regularly and so I am very pleased to the minister has decided to streamline the process.”
“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,” Mr Ramsey said. “These changes will make FHA quicker and easier to access”.
“We have 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.”
Mr Ramsey said the government had extended the $1m Drought Community Grants to the Yorke Peninsula Council. “This brings the number of councils in Grey that have qualified for this support to twenty and is responds to an imperically driven formula identifying rainfall deficiency,” he said.
“I know the council is very excited at the projects that can now be contemplated across the council area. “
For more information and to apply for assistance visit http://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought or call 1800 900 090.
Media Contact: Leonie Lloyd-Smith 08 8633 1744 September 27, 2019