Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Supporting Australians affected by drought

The Australian Government is boosting drought and outreach services by increasing the number of support workers delivering government services to drought affected parts of regional and rural Australia.

More than $8 million has been committed to establishing 24 Family Support Drought Response Teams to provide a full range of family relationship services to exceptional circumstance declared areas in all states and the ACT.

These teams will provide family relationship counselling, crisis intervention, dispute resolution, case management and other services aimed at helping people affected by prolonged drought conditions.

Community organisations will manage the teams to strengthen the support networks available to drought affected families.

The teams will use their links with government bodies, health services and community organisations to provide an integrated range of family relationship services to families, free of charge.

I know that the financial impact of the drought on farming families and rural communities also brings significant emotional and social pressure.

We want to support and help regional and rural communities and the people who live and work in them during these difficult times.

Through this initiative, we will increase drought and outreach services through more support workers, bringing services right to the farm gate and business door.

The Family Support Drought Response Teams measure has been funded until 30 June 2009.