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 (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.
The following government departments, organisations, community groups and service clubs have information available, ranging from farm and household assistance, support programs, and opportunities.
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.
We can help with:
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.
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.
The Agribusiness program assists farming businesses and enterprises to consider diversification and value adding programs. ION Group will deliver the program, through on-line group sessions, workshops and initiatives. They have extensive experience farming consulting projects with a strong agribusiness background. This Initiative will be undertaken over the coming 12 months and will be funded from Regional Development Victoria - Community Priorities Funding at no cost to farmers.
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
If you or someone you know is in need of crisis support please contact:
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.