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A much-needed Christmas financial lift for drought-affected Australian families

20 December 2018

Media release from the office of:

Senator the Hon. Bridget McKenzie
Deputy Leader of The Nationals

Minister for Regional Services
Minister for Sport
Minister for Local Government and Decentralisation
Senator for Victoria

 

Drought-affected families are receiving a welcome and much-needed financial lift on the eve of Christmas.

Not-for-profit organisations The Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul Society and Rotary Australia World Community Service are now providing financial support from the Liberal & Nationals Government’s $30 million Drought Community Support Initiative to people across parts of drought-hit Australia.

Minister for Regional Services and Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie said delivering support in time for Christmas was a top priority.

“I am pleased to confirm the $30 million Drought Community Support Initiative is up and running,” Minister McKenzie said.

“It will provide immediate assistance to at least 10,000 farming households facing hardship because of the drought.

“Practical support of up to $3000 per household, including up to $2000 to help pay the bills and $1000 in vouchers, will be welcome relief this Christmas.

“Hopefully it can bring some cheer to the thousands of eligible farmers, farm workers or farm suppliers and contractors who are struggling to pay everyday bills, including basics such as food, petrol and utilities.”

Christmas is supposed to be a time for family and sharing but this can also put extra pressure on those doing it tough during the drought.

Minister McKenzie said the three charity organisations were chosen because they were already on the ground in drought regions and were best suited to deliver this assistance on behalf of the Government and can start providing immediate relief across all of the eligible Local Government Areas. Just like so many Australians that have donated generously to support our drought affected communities the Government is contributing to charities to support these communities.

“Other respected organisations have expressed an interest in helping to deliver the program, which we will certainly explore in the future.”

The Minister said a key element of the support was the provision of vouchers to be redeemed at local businesses.

“The injection of money spent in rural and regional communities will help boost local businesses that are also struggling due to drought,” Minister McKenzie said.

Regional Australia accounts for around two-thirds of our nation’s exports and employs hundreds of thousands of Australians.

The Drought Community Support Initiative was announced by the Liberal & Nationals Government at the National Drought Summit on October 26, 2018.

The initiative is part of the Liberal & Nationals Government’s Drought Communities Program, which supports the most drought-affected regions of Australia by funding eligible Local Government Areas for local infrastructure projects and other drought-relief activities.

Along with the $30 million for individuals and families hit by drought $23 million has been secured in 66 projects for the Drought Communities program with more projects approved each week. Councils are delivering projects this financial year, employing local workers and suppliers to help promote their local economy.

Ends.

Media Contact:
Jonathan Hawkes I 0434 660 801 I Jonathan.Hawkes@health.gov.au
John Chanter | 0419 284 686 | John.Chanter@health.gov.au

Further information:
The Salvation Army:
24 hour assistance line: 02 8757 8088
click here

St Vincent de Paul:
Assistance Line: 13 18 12
vinnies.org.au/

Rotary Australia World Community Service:
rawcs.org.au/

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