Much of rural and regional Australia has, for some time, been in the grip of drought. Many communities in my electorate have been experiencing rainfall which is far below the average. These are communities whose economies rely on primary production. In short, without rain our regional communities suffer.
Our government of course is committed to helping these communities get through these tough times. Our drought support package is multifaceted, but tonight I want to focus on one aspect, the Drought Communities Program. Local governments, of course, are closest to their communities. The Drought Communities Program provides short-term support, including giving a boost to local employment and procurement and addressing social and community needs.
In my electorate, eight councils were deemed to be eligible for a million-dollar commitment to undertake projects that will deliver real outcomes for those communities struggling with the effects of drought. While each of these eight are in various stages in relation to this program, from planning to completion, I’m extremely proud that I can point to the projects they’ve prioritised in their communities that are making a real and direct difference for the people in my electorate and their communities.
We have projects for childcare facility upgrades in Karoonda and Pinnaroo. We’ve got work going on on rural roads, for farming access in Kapunda and to increase the tourism industry in towns along the River Murray. I’m seeing these projects roll out. I’m seeing the local employment they’re generating. I’m seeing the stimulation of the economy but also people having that sense that there are others willing to help them with these tough times.