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East Gippsland Drought Assistance

droughtphotoEast Gippsland is experiencing a prolonged drought following below average to lowest on record rainfall since 2016.


All levels of government have a role to play in providing assistance and support measures for primary producers.


This page has information about agencies and programs that are offering support.


Council can help you access information, help determine eligibility and provide details on the which agency can answer questions related to your circumstances.


Please don't self-assess when considering your eligibility for various grants and programs, ask our Customer Service Centre officers for help in person on by phone on 5153 9500.


"Gimme a Break" in Melbourne

Have you heard of the "Gimmee a Break" Initiative?

Gimme a Break is offering East Gippsland farming families a weekend in Melbourne from 23 – 25 August, thanks to the Mushroom Group and Victorian Government.

The weekend package will include accommodation for two nights, tickets to the football, Melbourne Zoo and Luna Park, and a lunch. If you don’t want the hassle of driving, V/Line tickets are also available.

Financial assistance is available to mind the farm while you’re away too!

Contact our Drought Information Officer Blanche Evans on 5153 9500 or blanchee@egipps.vic.gov.au for more details about how to apply for this drought assistance initiative.

Further information – Blanche Evans

Information and links

The following government departments, organisations, community groups and service clubs have information available, ranging from farm and household assistance, support programs, and opportunities.

Rural Finance

Rural Financial Counselling Service Gippsland

Workways Australia - Drought Employment Program

Gippsland Farmer Relief Inc.
Tackling Tough Times Together (Always Open)


Agriculture Victoria (various programs listed below) 

A new comprehensive feeding livestock website with tools, resources and calculators you’ll need during drought and other times when pasture is limited can be found at feedinglivestock.vic.gov.au

Drought support services in Central and East Gippsland booklet (PDF - 4.0 MB)

Drought support services in Central and East Gippsland booklet (WORD - 26.5 KB)

Dry seasons support

Technical support

Financial support

Personal and family support

Drought support services in Gippsland

Victoria’s Drought Preparedness and Response Framework


Minister for Agriculture - Media Release


Skilling The Next Generation of Victorian Farmers

The Andrews Labor Government's Upskill and Invest Young Farmers Scholarships are now open to young farmers looking to access study

and training, and then invest on-farm or in further professional development.

Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes opened the 2019 program during a visit to former scholarship recipient Kate Kirk's Bass Coast


Council rates payments


We can help with:

- Financial hardship assessments

- Pensioner concessions

- Farm rate eligibility 


You are encouraged to speak to council if you are experiencing difficulty paying your rates.


Ratepayers who choose to pay their rates in one amount, rates were due on February 15, 2019, and unpaid rates are now accruing interest.


There are several ways Council may be able to assist, including an arrangement to pay that is tailored to your situation.


Although interest is charged on all overdue amounts, if ratepayers enter into and honour an arrangement to pay, the risk of additional costs being incurred because action is undertaken to recover the debt is eliminated.   


Council officers are committed to working with ratepayers to put a plan in place for paying any overdue amounts.


It could be an arrangement that spreads rates payments more evenly across a period of time, or if things are really tough, it might be an interest free period that allows the rates to be paid over time without extra costs being incurred.


To discuss your rates, visit one of our Customer Service Centres or contact us on (03) 5153 9500. View our rates payment options information

* Council continues to lobby the Victorian Government for rate relief.


Free silage wrap collection

Council is providing free silage wrap collection from April 1 to June 30, 2019, at the Bairnsdale, Omeo and Orbost waste facilities. See the media release section below for more details.


Small Business Support Services

RFCS Gippsland is providing Free, Professional Small Business support services within drought-affected East Gippsland.


The aim is to assist small businesses become viable, sustainable and resilient to economic downturns. 

Small rural businesses can receive one-on-one assistance to help understand its financial position, viability, and identify options/plan to improve.   

A range of services tailored to individual business needs and goals will be made available for up to 2 years, with access to a wide range of services, assistance and support.

Find Out More and Register Your Interest via RFCS Gippsland website or call 1300 045 747. Places are limited.


This program is proudly sponsored by the Victorian Government and the Financial Counselling Australia Foundation with ANZ


Other government and support agencies

Look Over the Farm Gate

Department of Human Services

Regional Investment Corporation

Lions Need for Feed

Red Cross

East Gippsland Water

Rotary Relief - Farmer Break



Telephone contacts

Agriculture Victoria Line 16 186

Eastern Rural Financial Counselling Service 1300 045 747

Rural Finance 1800 260 425

Small Business Victoria 13 22 15

Human Services 132 316

Regional Investment Corporation 1800 875 675

Workways Australia 1800 631 196


Crisis support

If you (or someone you know) is in need of crisis support please contact:


Lifeline 13 11 14 or

Beyondblue 1300 224 636

MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467

Farmers Friend (03) 5136 3500

Look over the Farm Gate 1300 882 833 

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800

Family Relationship Service 1800 050 321

Befrienders Worldwide (for international visitors) 1300 78 99 78


Australian Government infrastructure funding


Drought Communities Programme guidelines 


The criteria (restrictive to infrastructure projects - see guidelines above) was made available in December and Council’s application, lodged in early February in conjunction with the East Gippsland Drought Reference Group, included:

  • $500,000 towards the sheep pen renewal yard roofing at the East Gippsland Livestock Exchange (total cost $770,000).
  • $225,000 for the installation of 15 static 46,000-litre concrete water tanks at strategic locations on publicly accessible land agreed to in conjunction with the CFA.

The tanks are installed with lockable CFA couplings which are designed only to be accessed for firefighting purposes.

  • $160,000 for a joint tourism attraction and marketing initiative in conjunction with Wellington Shire Council.
  • $30,000 for the installations of a ground water bore and standpipe as part of the Emergency Water Supply Points Program operated by the Victorian Government.


Media releases

21 May - Joint drought advocacy continues

8 May - East Gippsland and Wellington join forces on drought advocacy  

3 May - Council to consider revised rating strategy 

26 April - Shire’s farm rate relief advocacy continues 

24 April - Councillors signal budget revisit

3 April - Fiver for the Field Days

21 March - Shire offers free silage wrap disposal 

22 February - Mayor meets Minister on drought

22 February - Council puts rate relief on agenda

18 February - Having trouble paying your rates?

16 February - Drought group working for community


Draft revised budget and drought information sheet PDF


East Gippsland Drought Reference Group

The East Gippsland Drought Reference Group was formed in response to the prolonged drought across East Gippsland.

The intent of the group was to provide strategic advice, guidance, advocacy and action required to support drought-impacted communities in the shire, and maximise support and funding opportunities across all tiers of government.


This page aims to consolidate the information about drought organisations and groups, frequently asked questions, what assistance is available and from where, and community events funded through drought grants.

Organisations represented on the group are:

EGSC LOGO RGB 2015 LARGE.jpg agriculturevictorialogo-1.jpg CMA.jpg

East Gippsland Shire Council


Agriculture Victoria




rfcs gipps.png Chester, Darren.jpg orbost rh.png

Rural Financial Counselling


Member for Gippsland


Orbost Regional Health


gipps farmer relief.jpeg Bull, Tim.jpg vff.png

Gippsland Farmer Relief Inc


Member for Gippsland East


Victorian Farmers Federation



CWA Victoria


* Other groups may be co-opted or identified as required.


Image courtesy Bairnsdale Advertiser.


Updated 21 May 2019



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