The Western Downs Region has now joined the country’s growing list of drought declared areas, enabling farmers to access a range of support measures from both the Federal and Queensland Governments.

www.westendmagazine.comLate last month, the Federal Government announced a $320 million comprehensive drought support package that would allow Australian farmers earlier access to greater government assistance.

The package offers financial, social and mental health support to farming families, farm businesses and rural communities suffering from drought.

Key elements of the package are:

  • More generous criteria for accessing income support will be made available to farmers from 3 March 2014 instead of 1 July 2014.
  • Drought Concessional Loans totalling $280 million will be allocated to give eligible farm businesses the resources to recover from the effects of drought.
  • To assist drought affected farms to access water, $12 million will be added to existing emergency water infrastructure schemes, including supplementing those in NSW and Queensland.
  • $10 million in assistance will be available for pest management in drought affected areas.
  • $10.7 million will help increase access to social and mental health services in communities affected by this drought.

Responding to the new measures, Western Downs Mayor Ray Brown said the assistance was there to help local farmers.

“It’s good to see the Australian Government answering the community’s calls for extra assistance during this drought,” he said.

“I encourage Western Downs farmers to get in touch with the State and Federal departments managing the drought assistance to take advantage of this additional support.”

via Advance Western Downs