Community organisations, school P&Cs, show societies and local councils are among 59 organisations in drought-affected parts of the state to share in almost $5 million as part of the Palaszczuk Government’s Community Drought Support Package.
Minister for Communities Coralee O’Rourke today (14 July) announced the recipients of the funding, highlighting how rural, regional and remote areas of Queensland have been struggling with the impacts of the ongoing drought.
“We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that drought-affected regional Queensland communities are facing social and economic challenges on two fronts,” Mrs O’Rourke said.
“This ongoing drought, and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, is having a flow-on effect in Queensland communities, spreading from farms to businesses and households and that’s why we’re providing grants to boost these regional, rural and remote communities.
“This funding will support these regional communities to unite – in spirit, if not in person – and recover.
“Regional Queensland is at the front of the mind for me as a regional Minister and for the Palaszczuk Government as we continue to put in our place our plan to recover from the pandemic and support jobs.”
These grants form part of the Palaszczuk Government’s $74.6 million drought funding package.
The majority of funding will go to local organisations who will be contracted to provide funding to distribute to individuals, families and households affected by drought through Flexible Financial Hardship payments.
Support is to be extended to non-farming small business operators such as tradespeople and retailers that are impacted by drought.
Examples of assistance include vouchers for local shops and businesses, children’s sports club membership and Parent and Citizen Associations for the purchase of school uniforms, stationary replacement of minor tuckshop equipment such as toasters and blenders.
Third party payments such as rates and electricity are also eligible.
A range of community events and activities will also be supported.
These events will contribute to social connectedness and wellbeing as well as increasing access to local support services.
Mrs O’Rourke said supporting these events and activities was important for enhancing community connectedness and to link local people with relevant support networks.
“Local shows, rodeos, campdrafts and sporting events are important for regional communities, bringing together local people and providing a boost to the local economy,” she said.
“These events provide an opportunity for local people to build social connections and are a great way to boost morale in communities which have been impacted by the ongoing and devastating effects of the prolonged drought.
“Just as we have supported Queenslanders through floods and bushfires, the Palaszczuk Government is assisting drought-affected communities to recover from the impacts of this drought and build their resilience to future drought events.
Funding provided through the Community Drought Support Package will be delivered in line with the latest health advice regarding COVID-19.