The $3,000 Drought Community Support Initiative has resumed
The funding provides up to $3,000 in immediate financial assistance to eligible farming households who are facing hardship due to drought, as well as provide much-needed stimulus to local businesses. It is administered through Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul Society as is eligible for those located in all eligible Drought Communities Programme Extension Local Government Areas (see below).
The commencement date will be made available in the near future and we recommend keeping an eye on The Salvation Army or St Vinnie’s website for application details. Information for ACT and SA is *relatively easy to find on the St. Vinnie’s website, but the other state’s are not, so we will keep you updated.
Access information about the DSCI on Farm Table’s AgFunding database.
13* additional local councils have been included in the Drought Communities Programme
The Drought Communities Programme provides Local Government areas with $1m for local infrastructure and drought related initiatives.
The announcement opened this funding up to an additional 13 LGA’s. This included five Victorian councils – Moyne, Gannawarra, Pyrenees, Strathbogie and Swan Hill, three NSW councils – Temora, Murray River and Kyogile, 3 Queensland councils – North Burnet, Banana and Western Downs, and two South Australian councils – Coorong and York Peninsula.
Following this announcement, there was backlash that Moyne Shire were approved by mistake, so they have rejected the funding.
Funding will target infrastructure and other projects that:
- provide employment for people whose work opportunities have been impacted by drought
- stimulate local community spending
- use local resources, businesses and suppliers
- provide a long-lasting benefit to communities and the agricultural industries on which they depend.
The full list now includes:
New South Wales
- Armidale Regional
- Bathurst Regional*
- Bega Valley
- Broken Hill
- Central Darling
- Dubbo Regional
- Edward River*
- Glen Innes Severn Shire
- Liverpool Plains
- Mid-Western Regional
- Moree Plains
- Tamworth Regional
- Unincorporated Far West
- Upper Hunter
- Blackall Tambo
- Lockyer Valley
- South Burnett
- Southern Downs
- Adelaide Plains**
- Barunga West
- Berri Bamera*
- Clare and Gilbert Valleys
- Copper Coast**
- Flinders Rangers*
- Franklin Harbour
- Karoonda East Murray
- Loxton Waikerie
- Mid Murray
- Murray Bridge*
- Mount Remarkable
- Northern Areas
- Port Pirie City and District**
- Renmark Paringa**
- Southern Mallee
- Streaky Bay
- Unincorporated SA**
- East Gippsland
- Break O Day*
- Glamorgan Spring Bay*
Simplification of the Farm Household Allowance application process and settings
An announcement was made that ‘radical simplification’ changes will be made to the FHA. As quoted in Beef Central, Minister McKensie stated:
“We will remove the requirement for business income reconciliation, change the time limit on payment from four years in total to four out of every ten years, simplify the assets test, recognise agistment as being part of primary production income, and redesign the application process. For the first time, couples will be able to apply for the payment using just one application.
“These changes will make FHA quicker and easier to access, better reflect the nature of farm businesses, and to acknowledge that farmers may experience more than one period of hardship in their lifetime.
“Some of these changes will require amendments to legislation, but through Centrelink we will implement as many of the changes to the application process immediately.”
The Government website currently states:
On 27 September 2019, the Australian Government announced changes to Farm Household Allowance (FHA). Start dates are yet to be set. Some of the changes are subject to the passage of legislation. There are no changes for current customers or to the claiming process at this time.
Rural Financial Counselling Service cash injection
$740,000 of contingency funding has been injected to five Rural Financial Counselling Service providers who are experiencing pressure from increased demand.
Access information about the RFCS on Farm Table’s AgFunding database.