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6 Departments Helping Drought Affected Farmers Now

Drought has targeted Bundaberg this time, along with most of inland Queensland.  And although we love our sunburnt country it can be challenging to love the extremities of her nature.  Having grown up on a cane and cattle farm in the drought of the 80’s I have huge respect for the resilience of the agricultural industry.  We know that we just have to hold on to the important things and eventually it will rain (flood, probably).

The unknown length and severity of the drought is the biggest challenge to planning and coping with it.  Let’s start early by looking at strategic options and costs, making a Drought Management Plan and researching what help is available straight away.  The government is offering some rebates but I notice that some must be claimed within six months of the cost being incurred, so it doesn’t pay to be a hero and avoid claiming until you desperately need it in three years.

Department of Agriculture, Fishing and Forestries:  Here’s a link to forms to apply for financial assistance with building emergency water infrastructure, carting water and fodder for livestock and the transport and agistment of cattle because of the drought.

https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/environment/drought/assistance-programs/guidelines-and-forms

Department of Natural Resources and Mines:  Rural lease fees may be subsidised and DNRM’s water licence fees waived.  DNRM’s website has not been updated for the 2017 drought yet but they have confirmed with me that if your water licence fee falls due during this drought, it will be waived.

https://www.dnrm.qld.gov.au/our-department/support-and-assistance/drought-declared-areas

Department of Energy and Water Supply:  DEWS also offers consideration for drought affected primary producers.  Ergon Energy customers can apply directly through them on 13 10 46, otherwise apply for assistance with the electricity costs on your water pumps here:

https://www.dews.qld.gov.au/electricity/rebates/drought

(Ironically while I write this there is a 22.5 second sun shower and yes I did just go out and stand in it.)

QRAA:  There is currently a Drought Assistance Concessional Loan Scheme through QRAA available until 30 June 2017 or until the funding is committed.  The interest rate is generous, see if they can help you here:

http://www.qraa.qld.gov.au/current-programs/drought-concessional-loans-scheme

Department of Human Services:  A Farm Household Allowance is available, similar to Newstart and other household allowances.  Find out more here:

https://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/farm-household-allowance

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources:  Finally, a Rural Financial Counsellor can help you with all of the above if you live in an eligible area.  Follow this link for more details:

http://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought/assistance/rural-financial-counselling-service

We do encourage you to spend an hour or two to look at how these departments can help you, then fill in the paperwork and send it away.  But, if you aren’t sure if a grant is suitable for you or you just don’t have the time to look into this, don’t give up.  The team at The Money Edge are hear to help, we aren’t just Bookkeepers and Accountants, we are also Business Consultants who thrive on helping our clients in all aspects of their business. Contact us today to find out how we can help on 07 4151 8898.

Amanda Wolff | Bookkeeper | The Money Edge | Bundaberg

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