Farming communities set to receive economic boost
FARMING families in the drought declared communities of Roma, St George, Goondiwindi and surrounding regions received a boost when the Federal Government's Drought Community Outreach events visited Maranoa last month.
More than $64,000 in vouchers were distributed to primary producers who attended the events conducted by the Federal Government's National Drought and North Queensland Flood Response and Recovery Agency, in partnership with Rotary Australia.
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the outreach events were successful both in attendance and engagement with the providers who visited.
"Attendees were able to get information and advice on low-interest loans, Farm Household Allowance, immediate tax deductions on on-farm infrastructure, $3,000 Drought Community Support Initiative, and Rotary $500 household vouchers for farming households to support local businesses," Mr Littleproud said.
"Farmers could also speak to representatives from Australian Government agencies such as the Australian Taxation Office, Regional Investment Corporation (RIC), Services Australia and NBN Co., state government agencies and non-government organisations with drought support information.
"The distribution of these $500 vouchers means these rural and regional economies will benefit from a $64,000 economic boost in the coming weeks prior to Christmas.
"One young mother was delighted to receive the $500 voucher and expressed her relief that her family would now not be worrying so much about how to pay for their Christmas.
"The travelling roadshow with approximately 14 to 17 providers and two support staff was also responsible for booking a large number of hotel rooms in the towns visited, so the travelling one-stop-shop event roadshow also provided a significant additional economic stimulus."
The Agency reported that these types of community events allow policy makers to talk directly to regional communities and hear first-hand about the emotional and psychological impacts that the drought was having on farmers and small businesses.
Mr Littleproud said the aim of these events was to ensure these communities are given the right information, advice and options to prepare and recover from drought now and into the future.