RIVERINA Nationals’ MP and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack was in Temora today to announce $1 million in drought-relief funding for the Temora Shire.

The announcement today comes as the Liberal and Nationals Government announced another 13 councils will receive funding under the Drought Communities Programme Extension to complete local infrastructure and drought-relief projects.

Mr McCormack said the Federal Government would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with communities suffering from this insidious drought.

“This extension will help to boost local employment opportunities, stimulate local spending and address social and community needs,” Mr McCormack said.

“Unfortunately, this drought is far from over across broad swathes of our nation, but this funding assistance will help to ease pressures and share economic benefits for people living and working in these areas who have been facing tough times due to drought.

“A total of seven local government areas within the Riverina Electorate have now received this funding: Bland, Coolamon, Cowra, Forbes, Parkes, Temora and Weddin Shires.”

The Coalition Government continues to respond to the ongoing drought with direct and immediate support to help farming families and communities.

Those areas which have received Drought Communities Programme Extension funding also enables eligible farmers, farm workers and suppliers/contractors in each Local Government Area to apply for up to $3,000 per eligible drought-affected household through the Drought Community Support Initiative.

“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,” Mr McCormack said.

“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.

The government will also simplify Farm Household Allowance applications.

The changes will remove business income reconciliation, change the time limit on payment to four years in every 10, simplify the assets test and recognise agistment.

“These changes will make FHA quicker and easier to access,” Mr McCormack said.

“It’s really important that those in need of support do not self-assess their eligibility and instead seek advice from an expert, such as a rural financial counsellor.”

For more information and to apply for assistance visit www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought or call 1800 900 090.

Shane Manning