The Nationals in Government are continuing to deliver vital drought relief, with an additional $75 million pledged to help affected communities.

Sixty councils will be able to apply for up to one million dollars to fund projects that employ locals, and create opportunities for local businesses, ensuring towns survive the drought.

This is the next step in supporting regional Australia as it battles the drought; so far the Federal Nationals in Government have put over $1.8 billion on the table in drought support targeted at putting food on the table of farmers through, the Farm Household Allowance, keeping farming families going as finances tighten, while also increasing vital funding for mental health support, and slashing red tape for fodder transporters. Meanwhile, Nationals in the NSW Government have secured more than $1.3 billion in drought relief, ensuring our people can get through the tough times.

The Drought Communities Programme is about supporting the small and medium businesses in regional communities who suffer significant downturns in their cashflow as primary producers tighten their belts. This impacts everyone from agricultural supply stores, to local shops such as hairdressers and retail stores. When farmers suffer, so does the entire regional economy.

Local councils are well placed to identify and deliver projects and infrastructure that will employ locals, and utilise local businesses in the supply and execution of these projects. Under the previous rounds of the Drought Communities Programme, 147 projects across 23 LGAs were funded creating hundreds of jobs and thousands of employment hours.

A new Drought Finance Taskforce has also been set up, as an additional way for government, business and industry to work together and ensure that they are not only receiving the most up-to-date information, but also able to respond quickly, so farmers and local small businesses receive the additional support they need, as soon as possible.

The Nationals in Government will continue to keep the ongoing drought front and centre of policy discussions, as we strongly advocate for our communities.