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East Gippsland Drought Assistance

droughtphoto East 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.

 

Drought Conditions - Support in Central and East Gippsland

 

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 Financial Counselling Service Gippsland

Workways Australia - Drought Employment Program

 

Agriculture Victoria (various programs listed below) 

Dry seasons support

Technical support

Financial support

Personal and family support

Victoria’s Drought Preparedness and Response Framework

 

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 and Orbost waste facilities.

 

Business workshops

Small Business Mentoring Service is holding free sessions to support businesses affected by the drought.

 

These 45-minute sessions include recovery strategies for business and farmers. You will have one-on-one time with a mentor.

  • Orbost: 26 March
  • Mallacoota: 1 April
  • Omeo: 2 April
  • Bairnsdale: 8 April
  • Paynesville: 15 April
  • Cann River: 30 April

A disaster relief workshop will also be held on Monday 15 April at Bairnsdale Library. This information session with be presented by author Anthony Turner and attendees will get a copy of his book 'Are your ready - surviving small business disaster'.

 

To book your place at any of these sessions, visit the Small Business Mentoring Service website.

 

Community grants

Council is also using funding to support community events that bring communities together, build resilience and raise awareness of drought support services. 

 

Other small infrastructure projects such as improvements to community hubs, halls and precincts will also be considered via grant applications.

 

Visit our grants page to find out more.

 

These are some events organised by community groups using drought funding:

* Cann River Christmas Party hosted by Cann River Community Centre

* Wairewa Community Christmas Party hoisted by Wairewa Rural Fire Brigade

* Night Out for Drought-affected Farmers hosted by Glenaladale Recreation Reserve Committee of Management

* Cabbage Tree Community Emergency Plan Meeting

* Bruthen and District Citizens Association (Neighbourhood House) Country Fair Day

 

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

FarmHub

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

EGCMA

 

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

 

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CWA Victoria

 

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

 

Image courtesy Bairnsdale Advertiser.

 

Page updated 18 March 2019

 

 

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