The Andrews Labor Government is supporting drought affected communities in East and Central Gippsland and helping farmers across Northern Victoria prepare for tougher conditions ahead.
Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford today announced a $25 million Drought Preparedness and Support Package with targeted support for mental health, small business planning and support for parents in farming communities manage cost of living pressures.
As part of this package, families in East and Central Gippsland will be able to access $8.45 million in support for education costs, including $2.2 million for Back to School support, a further $5 million to extend the Camps, Sports and Excursion Fund and $1.25 million for children attending kinder in drought affected areas.
A further $370,000 will go towards supporting small businesses with planning workshops and mobile mentoring services in East and Central Gippsland.
Farming communities in northern Victoria will also be given support to prepare for drought, with dry conditions and extremely low rainfall already causing difficult conditions.
This includes more than $2 million for mental health and wellbeing services, with $180,000 of this funding dedicated to the National Centre for Farmer Health to deliver health checks to farmers.
Northern Victorian farmers will also now be able to apply to the Drought Infrastructure Grant Program along with farmers in Central and East Gippsland with an $11.8 million boost to the program.
These dry conditions make it more difficult for farmers to control wild pests and animals, so the Labor Government’s drought assistance package also includes $1 million to make sure wild pest and animal control programs are processed faster and better coordinated regionally.
In addition, farmers across Northern Victoria will be able to better prepare for drought with $1 million to provide expert technical and business support to help them make good, early decisions around farm management, including animal health, feed budgeting and land management.
The Labor Government’s new $25 million drought support package builds on the $5 million already provided to support farming communities last month across East Gippsland who are continuing to manage the impacts of drought.
For more information about drought conditions and assistance go to www.agriculture.vic.gov.au/dryseasons.
As stated by Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford
“We’re backing our farmers across the state, delivering the support families impacted by drought need, and building resilience in other areas impacted by record low rainfall and climate change.”
“We know our farmers’ are resilient, capable and innovative, but we need to make sure the support you need is there and that no one goes it alone.”