Thursday, 25 October 2018
Statements by Members
Drought is indeed a tough ask. We do know, in the Australian farming community, that it is part of the cycle of farming in Australia, but it doesn't make it any easier when it visits its ugly head upon your property. That's why I'm very pleased that today the Deputy Prime Minister announced $15 million towards a regional drought community small grants program. It will make grants available for not-for-profit community groups to deliver projects in drought-affected regions, focusing on reducing social isolation, leadership development and skills training, social and educational participation, addressing disadvantage caused by the drought, reducing volunteer fatigue, building capacity and supporting local economic recovery or renewal. This brings to over $1.8 billion the money that the federal government has invested in supporting farmers through the drought.
I have another ask, though. I have been speaking to the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the relevant ministers about the Community Support Program, which runs through New South Wales and Queensland—a million dollars per council. I believe we have councils in South Australia that are affected—that need to get sand off roads and deal with other unexpected expenses—and I'm hoping that some kind of provision will be made available for them in the near future. I'll certainly keep batting on that level, because it's a pretty tough ask for a farmer, after his dirt's blown onto the road, for the council to come knocking on his door and say, 'You get it off, mate.' They're at their rope's end. (Time expired)