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A message for drought-affected farmers: funds are available

ByLyndsey Douglas

As we head towards the festive season, a time when giving and togetherness is central, it’s often a time for reflecting on the hardships being faced by others in our community.

Drought affected producers are top of mind for us this year. Despite the media attention dropping off, extended dry periods are still impacting families and farmers across much of the eastern states. Many still reeling from the exorbitant cost of feeding stock. As you well know, farmers are typically a proud bunch and seldom seek a hand out. We were saddened, but not surprised, to hear from the Red Cross recently that only $2.8m of the $11.2m available through them for farmers has been distributed. This is largely due to lacking awareness and farmers not believing they are eligible for the funds.

Please spread the word: If you’re a farmer in a drought affected area, funds may be available to assist you and your family. Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief  exists to help pay for household expenses. These may include, but aren’t restricted to:

  • Groceries
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • School expenses
  • Utility bills
  • Dental and medical expenses.

What do farmers need to know?

$11 million is now available to help drought-affected farmers and farming communities. We are partnering with the Country Women’s Association in Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia, and with the Rural Financial Counselling Service in Victoria to get the funds out through their aid programs.

As of 24 October, more than 1,800 farming families have taken up the grants through the Red Cross. The process is fast and simple.

If you’re a farmer, here’s how it works

Farmers, farming families or farming-dependent contractors in drought-affected areas of NSW, ACT, Queensland and South Australia can apply for grants of up to $3,000 through the Country Women’s Association, and in Victoria through the Rural Financial Counselling Service in Gippsland. Red Cross appeal funds support these grants.

Grants can help you meet household expenses, such as food, vehicle maintenance, school expenses, electricity, gas or rates, telephone expenses and dental or medical expenses.

Applications are being processed quickly.

Three ways to apply

You can apply online, call the phone number in your state, below, to have an application form sent to you, or pick up an application form at selected Australia Post offices.

In Queensland, contact the Queensland Country Women’s Association online or call (07) 3026 1220.

In NSW and ACT, contact the Country Women’s Association of NSW online or call (02) 8337 0210.

In South Australia, the SA Country Women’s Association is working with Rural Business Support to facilitate grant applications. To apply, call Rural Business Support 1800 836 211, email admin@ruralbusinesssupport.org.au or visit the Rural Business Support website.

In Victoria, grants are being distributed by the Rural Financial Counselling Service in Gippsland. You can apply online or call 1300 045 747.

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