DROUGHT: Bundaberg botanic gardens.
DROUGHT: Bundaberg botanic gardens.

Bundaberg farmers to access drought funding

DROUGHT-STRICKEN farmers will have the opportunity to access payments of up to $3,000.

Bundaberg will be one of 52 areas that are eligible to access funds from the Drought Community Support Initiative.

Payments of up to $3,000 will be available next month.

Federal member for Hinkler, Keith Pitt said the drought fund would ensure farmers could put food on the table and fuel in the tank, during challenging times.

“This payment will be available to farmers, farm workers and farm contractors that are struggling because of the drought,” Mr Pitt said.

“The support comes on top of other drought support, such as the Farm Household Allowance providing assistance to farming families.”

Farmers will be able to access payments through the Salvation Army or St Vinnies, in late March.

Minister for drought David Littleproud said further funding could also be available through a new drought outreach program.

“Under the new Drought Community Outreach program, the Country Women’s Association and Rotary Australia World Community Service would each receive a further $5 million to provide vouchers of up to $500 to farming households experiencing hardship due to drought,” Mr Littleproud said.

The news comes after Bundaberg was initially excluded from the list of councils eligible for drought funding, last year.

Last month, Mr Pitt conducted an investigation to decipher why Bundaberg was previously denied funding.

“The review of the Drought Communities Program declarations announced today has taken into account rainfall data and both agricultural and broader employment information,” Mr Pitt said.

“After investigating I found that the criteria which calculated agricultural jobs in the region didn’t include agricultural processing or packaging jobs.

“This was despite Bundaberg being one of the largest small crops growing regions in Australia, the largest macadamia growing and processing region in the Southern hemisphere and a large sugar cane, grazing and avocado growing region.”

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