Drought Relief Forums will be hosted by Southern Downs Regional Council (SDRC) at Warwick Town Hall on 11 September and Stanthorpe Civic Centre on 14 September to encourage the community to put forwards ideas on how $1 million in Federal Government funding is best spent to benefit the Southern Downs in the face of drought.

Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie said Council would work with the community to ensure the funding delivered projects which would be of most benefit to the entire region. “Council wants to hear the community’s ideas and suggestions on how we use this important funding to ensure we are resilient to both the immediate and potential impacts of the drought,” Cr Dobie said. “We are asking all residents, businesses and community groups, everyone across the Southern Downs, to drop-in to a forum in either Warwick or Stanthorpe and share your ideas. It is important that as a community we think about how we allocate this funding to deliver meaningful projects and initiatives, which keep our local economy strong, boost employment and provide drought assistance where it is most needed.”

Earlier this month, the Federal Government announced it would boost the Drought Communities Program by $75 million and provide initial support of $1 million to 60 eligible councils, including SDRC. The funding provides short-term support to communities to build resilience to the drought’s long-term impacts. The grant will provide assistance with local employment opportunities, supporting local businesses and suppliers; encouraging economic activity and assisting with drought-relief initiatives. The funding is subject to Federal Government guidelines and projects must be completed by 30 June 2019.

The drop-in forums will provide an opportunity for the community and businesses to engage directly with Council, contribute ideas and provide feedback and suggestions on how to spend the funding. Service providers and drought-relief agencies will be on hand to assist with important information. SDRC has launched an online Drought Relief Funding survey on its website for those unable to attend the forums.

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