Supporting Our Drought-Affected Farmers

Farmers facing drought and dry conditions will get the extra support they need, with the Andrews Labor Government announcing new dedicated funding to help farming families and communities doing it tough.

Premier Daniel Andrews joined Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes today to announce more than $31 million in targeted support for areas hit hardest by dry conditions – including East and Central Gippsland, the Millewa region in north-west Victoria, and the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District (GMID).

The Labor Government will establish a $15 million Farmers’ Drought Fund to help farming businesses and families that need it most, alleviating some of the immediate burden while also supporting farmers to make investments in the long term.

The fund will provide household financial relief for families in Central and East Gippsland, the Millewa and the GMID who have been hit hard by drought – with $3 million to deliver hardship payments of up to $3,000 per family, taking immediate pressure off everyday expenses.

The Labor Government’s current drought program has provided 4,855 grants for Victorian farming businesses to improve drought management and preparedness – the Farmers’ Drought Fund continues that work, with $12 million in grants to support the long-term future of farming with drought infrastructure and business planning.

The package also includes $5.2 million in Local Government Service Support Payments, which will be provided to East Gippsland, Wellington and Mildura Shires to help councils meet the immediate needs of their communities.

The successful Catchment Management Authority Drought Employment Program will be extended, giving farmers and their employees access to off-farm employment and training. The $4.6 million investment will continue the Program in Wellington and East Gippsland, and roll it out for the first time in the Millewa and GMID.

Vouchers will also be provided to farm businesses in the Millewa region to maintain essential on-farm machinery and equipment.

The package will also provide $2.3 million in farm business management and planning support, $2 million for mental health services and $1.25 million for local projects and events to help keep communities strong.

The package announced today complements drought funding recently announced by the Federal Government. The Victorian Labor Government welcomes this funding, particularly the changes to the Farm Household Allowance that make it easier for Victorian farmers to access.

The Labor Government will continue to work alongside the Commonwealth, councils and communities to ensure our farmers are getting the support they need.

Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

“This won’t make it rain, but it will help make life just a little bit easier for farming families doing it tough.”

“At the same time, we know it’s not enough to provide immediate hardship payments and consider the job done. It’s why we’re investing in equipment upgrades, new infrastructure and training to help our farmers long-term.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes

“We’ve listened to drought-impacted farmers, and this package reflects what they’ve told us – delivering both immediate relief while also providing long-term investments to prepare for the future.”