Drought support offered for Aussie farmers

Greta Stonehouse

With 99 per cent of NSW and nearly 60 per cent of Queensland in drought, relief efforts have been ramped up.


* Federal government has a $190 million package, including payments up to $12,000 for drought-affected farmers in the southern half of the country. Up to $1 million for community-led mental health and community resilience initiatives.

* About 19,000 farmers potentially eligible for the allowance are yet to sign up.

* In June the government extended the Farm Household Allowance scheme from three-to-four years. Farmers can access a payment equivalent to the unemployment benefit (about $16,000 a year).

* The federal government has spent $576 million on relief

* Queensland has allocated more than $670 million to grants, loans, infrastructure projects and climate adaptation programs.

* NSW has provided an extra $500 million in support, including $190 million in transport subsidies, taking the total package to $1 billion.


* The Australian Red Cross has set up The Disaster Relief and Recovery Appeal to run until the end of August.

* Salvation Army's rural chaplains are visiting farms and communities, distributing food hampers, helping with bills, household jobs, work around the farm and emotional support.


* Commonwealth has donated $2 million in relief - $1.75 million to the Australian Red Cross appeal; $250,000 to Rural Aid's Buy a Bale program.

* National Australia Bank has promised not to charge affected farmers higher default interest rates on loan repayments and to offset farm management deposits - along with Rural Bank and Commonwealth Bank.


* Coles - $5 million in grants and interest-free loans from its Nurture Fund, while funds raised in supermarkets go to the Country Women's Association.

* Woolworths - $1.5 million to Rural Aid's Buy a Bale program and donating all profits from fresh food sales on Saturday August 11.


* An initiative targeting children encourages them to donate $5 to drought-stricken farmers and spread the word via social media with the hashtag #Igaveahalfbanj.