Media Release by The Hon Scott Morrison MP

Extra $1.3 million to support drought affected families

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon. Barnaby Joyce, Minister for Agriculture

The Federal Government will provide $1.3 million in extra funding to ensure families living in drought affected areas of New South Wales and Queensland can continue accessing family relationship support, Minister for Social Services, the Hon. Scott Morrison and Minister for Agriculture, the Hon. Barnaby Joyce said today.

“Hundreds of families living in affected areas of New South Wales and Queensland continue to suffer from the effects of prolonged drought. This suffering affects individuals, couples and families, and entire communities,” Minister Morrison said.

“The Government understands the importance of these relationships as well as family and community ties in helping people to survive when times are tough.

“That is why we committed $10.7 million for mental health and social support as part of the National Drought Package announced by the Prime Minister in February 2014. This was backed up by an extra $3.5 million for extra community mental health support in November.

“The additional $1.3 million announced today will allow nine providers to continue delivering these support services across drought affected communities until June 2015,” Minister Morrison said.

Minister Joyce said that looking after the social and mental wellbeing of communities impacted by drought continued to be a high priority for the government.

“We are committed to standing by our farming families experiencing drought – there were no specific drought measures in place when we came to office and we have rolled out a range of policies to assist those in need.

“This latest funding is in addition to more than $400 million in drought measures we have made available since February 2014,” Minister Joyce said.

“As well as social support, other assistance available to farmers and their families include concessional loans schemes, income support, and help through the Rural Financial Counselling Service.

“More than 4,700 farmers or their partners are already receiving income support through the Farm Household Allowance, and over $239 million in concessional loans to farm businesses have been approved so far.

“We will always keep our eye on the edges while our concentration is on the centre.

“I urge farmers and their families not to self-assess their eligibility for any of these support measures but to talk to the experts and find out more about their options,” Minister Joyce said.

The nine Family and Children Activity providers delivering these services are:

  • Anglicare Northern Inland Diocese of Armidale
  • Centacare New England North West
  • Interrelate Family Centres Limited
  • Roman Catholic Church for the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes
  • UnitingCare NSW. ACT
  • Centacare Bathurst
  • Centacare Townsville
  • The Roman Catholic Trust Corporation for the Diocese of Rockhampton
  • Centacare Toowoomba