Drought Support For Farmers And Their Families

The Andrews Labor Government is supporting farmers who are facing the worst of the difficult dry seasonal conditions.

Premier Daniel Andrews, Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford, and Minister for Water Lisa Neville, tonight announced a new package of support measures for farmers at a community BBQ in Birchip.

The measures will ensure farmers and their families experiencing emotional and financial stress get the support they need to help them get through these challenging times.

Farms are often a family business and research shows that when faced with drought the health and wellbeing of the family can be significantly impacted.  

The new support measures announced include:

  • $220,000 to deliver Mental Health First Aid training across the ten identified drought affected local council areas and implement local community engagement and support measures
  • $270,000 for additional Rural Financial Counsellors
  • $300,000 from the State Schools Relief program to provide families in drought affected communities with uniforms, shoes and other school items.
  • $960,000 to support kindergarten participation in drought affected communities
  • $1 million to employ drought affected farmers and farm workers on environmental projects
  • $1.5 million for a Drought Extension Program to help farmers make necessary on-farm decisions such as de-stocking, animal health and welfare, feed budgeting, land management, irrigation and water use efficiency
  • $5.8 million from the Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund to ensure kids in drought affected regions don’t miss out on these important educational experiences

The National Centre for Farmer Health, which received $4 million from the Labor Government in the 2015-16 Victorian Budget, will use this funding to target drought affected areas with a series of activities, workshops and events to support rural families and communities.

The new Drought Extension Program will also fund the Victorian Farmers Federation’s Look Over Your Farm Gate campaign which encourages locals to get together and provide support to each other.

Other opportunities and events for the community to come together will also be sought, for example working with Catchment Management Authorities and Fisheries Victoria to deliver family fishing days.

More information about the new support measures are available at www.agriculture.vic.gov.au/drought or via the Drought Information Line at 136 186.

Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

“We must support our farmers and their families through the tougher times. If you and your family are struggling, my message is please don’t go it alone.”

“These new measures will ensure our farmers and their families have the support they need to put their health and welfare first.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford

“These new measures will support local families and help bring these communities even closer together.”

“This is about making sure our farmers have access to the best information so they can make the best decisions for their families.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Water Lisa Neville

“Through the new Drought Employment Program farmers will have the opportunity to earn an income while also helping to protect environmental assets under threat from the dry conditions.”

“Drought impacts our rural families and the environment and this new initiative will help support and protect both.”