The Federal Government will extend the Drought Communities Program (DCP) to another twenty-one (21) local councils across Australia to help support communities doing it tough during the current drought.
Member for Barker Tony Pasin who also Chairs the Government’s agriculture backbench policy committee, said that the DCP had been an vital part of the response to the drought so far because it recognised the flow-on effects of the tough times for farmers affect far more than just their own farm.
“We understand that there are consequences for everyone in regional towns as the drought hits hard. The farmers are the first to feel it through high feed prices and less return on their crops but the costs then flow through the whole community,” Mr Pasin said.
“As farmers are hit by drought, their capacity to spend on farm essentials in their local towns is reduced. That then puts pressure on the owners of the businesses that they buy from.
“By extending the DCP to another 21 local councils, more communities can apply, helping to keep more money in these regions and people in jobs.”
Mr Pasin said he had fought to extend the support into South Australia and ensure that Barker councils were included based on key data.
Rainfall deficiency data from the Bureau of Meteorology, population and industry data (reliance on agriculture) was used to assess the overall economic impact of the drought in the region.
“I’m hearing from farmers in Barker that they have been in significant rainfall deficit and that this will impact so many in their communities that rely on agriculture either directly or indirectly for their income,” Mr Pasin said.
Included in the additional 21 local councils are District Council of Southern Mallee, Mid Murray Council, District Council of Karoonda East Murray, and the District Council of Loxton Waikerie.
These councils will each now eligible to receive $1 million in funding.
This latest announcement brings the Federal Government’s commitment to a total of $81 million in 2018-19 to this program to fund local community infrastructure and other drought relief projects.
DCP projects demonstrate the Government’s focus on delivering practical solutions for the drought-affected communities by supporting local projects which not only will help them respond to the drought but will also provide a much needed boost for local economies.
Local labour and local business and suppliers will be used to maximise the economic benefits for our regions.
“The best thing about the DCP program is that it’s a direct economic stimulation in local towns across the country, that will boost economic activity and support jobs at a time when our farmers are feeling under pressure,” Mr Pasin said.
“This funding is about local councils using local people, buying goods from local stores and using local skills to keep money flowing through the community.”
DCP funding is targeted at projects that stimulate local community spending, use local resources, businesses and suppliers, and/or provide a long-lasting benefit to communities and the agricultural industries on which they depend.
The funding allows councils to choose projects that will have the biggest impact.
Contact: Charlotte Edmunds 8531 2466