community
Drought Assistance
community
Drought Assistance
Drought information about agencies and programs offering support.

East Gippsland has experienced 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.

Council can help you access information, help determine eligibility and provide details on 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 Team or the Drought Assistance Officer for assistance in person or by phone on 5153 9500.

Rural Financial Counselling Service - Small Business Support Services

Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) Gippsland provides free, professional small business financial counselling and support services within drought-affected East Gippsland. RFCS Gippsland assists primary producers and small rural businesses with planning and recovery services to reduce financial distress when faced with economic downturns.

Farmers and small rural businesses can receive one-on-one assistance to help understand your current financial position and ongoing viability, identify options and develop plans to improve your financial situation and wellbeing. Experienced and trained rural financial counsellors understand the needs of our rural communities and can talk through any financial concerns you may be experiencing.

A range of services tailored to individual business needs and goals will be made available for up to 3 years, with access to a wide range of services, assistance and support and other referral networks. To find out more call 1300 045 747 or visit RFCS Gippsland website.

This program is funded by the Victorian and Commonwealth Department(s) of Agriculture, and supported by other local funding organisations.

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.

There are currently no plans to display.
Please check back soon.

Agribusiness Program for East Gippsland Farmers

The Agribusiness Program is an exciting opportunity for small farms and agribusinesses that will guide them through diversification or value adding opportunities for their business, that will lead to increased income and income security, particularly in drought.

The benefit of being involved in this program include:

  • Identification of potential business diversification that will assist your business with income security, resilience etc
  • Development of an adaption plan tailored for you and your business
  • 12 month’s practical support from highly experienced adviser who will visit your farm and work with the owners
  • Access to new management tools that you can use to help plan and delivered new opportunities on your farm
  • Opportunity to improve financial performance and business security

The program is free and will be delivered in three streams over 12 months.

Stream Three: Omeo/Swifts Creek District 22 July and Orbost/Cann River District 20 May.

The Drought Agribusiness Program has limited spots with only 45 places available.

The program will be held in

  • Tambo Valley, including Omeo
  • Orbost and Cann Valley, including Buchan
  • Bairnsdale region, including Bengworden, Lindenow, Bruthen

Council is seeking farms and farming enterprises that would like to be involved to contact Leigh Crocker Ion Group on 0419 359 409 or go online at www.iongroup.com.au

Small Agribusiness Program brochure

Agribusiness EOI form.

Your rates assistance

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 are due in February 2021, and unpaid rates will accrue 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 honours 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 information.

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

Free silage wrap disposal continues

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.

Information from Agriculture Victoria

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

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

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

Other Government and Support Agencies

Telephone Contacts

  • Agriculture Victoria  136 186
  • Rural Financial Counselling Service 1300 045 747
  • Rural Finance 1800 260 425
  • Small Business Victoria 13 22 15
  • Department of Families, Fairness and Housing 1300 650 172
  • 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
  • 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) 135 247

Agriculture Sector Advisory Committee

Our thanks go to the members of the East Gippsland Drought Reference Group that was formed in response to the prolonged drought across East Gippsland. The group provided strategic advice, guidance, advocacy and actions to support the drought-impacted communities in the shire, and maximised support and funding opportunities across all tiers of government.

The new East Gippsland Agriculture Sector Advisory Committee will have a broad focus on matters of significance to the agriculture sector and will provide advice, guidance and recommendations to East Gippsland Shire Council on matters that affect the agriculture sector in East Gippsland and its communities.

The committee comprises 15 members, of which 10 will be representatives of families, businesses, companies, and single practitioners actively engaged in agriculture, along with a representative from Agriculture Victoria, East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority and Food & Fibre Gippsland. Two councillors, with one being the Mayor, will complete the committee.

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This page was last published on: 
Tuesday, May 11, 2021