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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.


Upcoming Drought Workshop September 25, 2019


Agriculture Victoria invites livestock producers to attend a farm walk and information session, this workshop will provide an opportunity for farmers to discuss on farm and look at options over the next few months, with some leading experts on hand to lead the discussions.


New Understanding Drought video and BOM Blog - what is drought?

The Bureau has created some content around the issue of drought which can be found in a new video Understanding Drought video along with an Explainer: what is drought? blog

For further information please contact Melody Horrill at the BOM.


Drought Community Wellbeing Grants


One Good Community Gippsland Wellbeing Grants program is now open. 

For more information and to apply visit https://onegoodcommunity.gphn.org.au/

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)

Dry seasons support

Technical support

Financial support

Personal and family support

Drought support services in Gippsland

Victoria’s Drought Preparedness and Response Framework


Agriculture Victoria has published two videos of Gippsland farmers speaking about the drought conditions and assistance measures.

Here are Geoff Gooch, of Pearsondale, and Andrew Jones, of Stratford, discussing support options.


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 disposal continues

Monday 15 July

East Gippsland Shire Council has extended its free silage wrap disposal program.


Due to finish at the end of June, farmers with silage wrap can continue to dispose of their silage wrap free (until further notice) at council’s waste facilities in Omeo, Orbost, Lakes Entrance and Bairnsdale.


The silage wrap needs to be shaken and as clean as possible, and will be accepted in Bulka bags, wool bags or Plasback bags without net wrap or twine.


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


2 Day Leadership Retreat for Women in Agriculture

At Nowa Nowa on November the 7th & 8th (Thursday and Friday) there is an opportunity to join a 2 day leadership retreat.

Places are limited and those interested will be required to fill out a simple expression of interest before being accepted into the course.

All accommodation, training, and food will be provided, you just need to commit to the two days and stay overnight in Nowa Nowa.

Gayle Hardie from GlobalLeadership Foundation will be running the course and the emphasis will be on:

  • Building confidence
  • Emotional resilience
  • Creating and recognising leadership skills
  • Understanding a range of communication tools that are available

This is a great opportunity not only to build your skills but also bond with fellow women who are involved in agriculture.

To be eligible to participate you need to be a woman involved in agriculture – be it working off farm, just starting in agriculture, has been there for years, the farmer’s wife, manager, or farm hand.


Other government and support agencies

Look Over the Farm Gate

Department of Human Services

Regional Investment Corporation

Lions Need for Feed

Red Cross

Rural Aid

St Vincent de Paul

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

12 September - Drought allocation determined

15 July - Free silage wrap disposal continues 

8 July - Council helps make community facility upgrades possible

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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