The Federal Government has announced plans to expand its direct assistance and concessional loan program for drought stricken farmers across the country.
The announcement will also see the expansion of the Drought Communities Programme will be expanded and receive an additional $75 million to help support an initial 60 councils in drought-stricken areas, funding local community infrastructure and other projects, such as emergency water supply.
The expansion programme will enable $1 million to be provided to 60 councils initially, with further support available if needed.
The programme guidelines will be broadened giving councils flexibility to choose projects that have the biggest impact.
These can include employing local contractors to undertake repairs and maintenance, upgrading or building new community facilities, undertaking drought-relief activities and carting potable water into communities for drinking and bathing.
The announcement of the expansion of the drought relief package coincides with the appointment of Major General Stephen Day as the National Drought Coordinator. Major Day will be tasked with engaging across all levels of government, the private sector, philanthropic organisations and with communities and farmers.