Government assistance

The Australian Government and some state governments have made assistance packages available to farmers, listed here nationally and by state.

Australian Government assistance

The Australian Government has a number of assistance programs available to farmers. For more information, visit supporting farmers and rural communities.

A list of key drought assistance contacts within the Australian Government, as well as for each state and territory, is available here: Drought assistance contacts

Rural Financial Counselling Service

Provides free financial counselling to farmers who are suffering financial hardship. This program now includes a Farm Liaison Officer, who will help connect farmers, businesses and communities with the support of the RFCS and community assistance measures.

More info: Rural Financial Counselling Service

Regional Investment Corporation

Provides drought loans of up to $2 million for farm business owners affected by drought, or who want to prepare for drought.

More info: Drought loans

Farm Household Allowance

The Farm Household Allowance provides up to four cumulative years of support for eligible farmers and farmers' partners experiencing financial hardship. This package includes the opportunity to undertake a Farm Financial Assessment and Financial Improvement Agreement. It also includes two lump sum supplementary payments worth up to $12,000 for eligible households, with the assets threshold now increased from $2.6 million to $5 million.

More info: Farm Household Allowance

Rural Financial Counselling Service

Provides free financial counselling to farmers who are suffering financial hardship.

More info: Rural Financial Counselling Service

Managing weeds and pest animals

Provides funding to help manage the effects of pest animals and weeds in drought-affected areas. More info: Pest and weed management

Managing Farm Risk Program 

Provides one-off rebates of up to $2,500 (including GST) for advice and assessments to help farmers prepare and apply for a new insurance policy.

More info: Managing Farm Risk Program

Taxation measures

Provides assistance for drought-affected taxpayers across regional, rural and metropolitan areas to manage their tax.

More info: ATO Drought help

NSW Government assistance

The NSW Government has created DroughtHub, an online one-stop-shop to assist farmers in navigating their Emergency Drought Relief Package.

More info: DroughtHub

At DroughtHub the NSW assistance programs include:

  • Emergency Drought Relief Package
  • Transport and animal welfare
  • Finance
  • Management information
  • Wellbeing
  • Skills and training

It also includes latest NSW drought maps, research and development and case studies.

Queensland Government assistance

The Queensland Government provides drought assistance for primary producers such as dairy farmers, for more information visit Drought assistance for primary producers.

Drought Relief Assistance scheme (DRAS)

Provides $20,000 per financial year (or $30,000 with an endorsed drought management plan by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries) for fodder freight, water freight, and emergency water infrastructure purchase and installation. 

After a drought declaration has been revoked you may also be eligible for a livestock transport subsidy for animals purchased for restocking or livestock returning from agistment.

More info: Drought Relief Assistance Scheme

Electricity Charges Scheme

Provides waived or reimbursed supply charges used to pump water for farm or irrigation purposes.

More info: Drought Relief from Electricity Charges Scheme

Land rent rebates

Provides rural lease holders where rent is more than $235 with a 12% rebate.

More info: Drought assistance land rent rebate.

Water license waivers

Means annual water licence fees or new water licence applications for stock or domestic use may be waived.

More info: Other drought rebates and fee relief

Counselling services for drought-affected communities 

Provides support from professional financial counsellors and mental health services.

More info: Counselling services for drought-affected communities

South Australian Government assistance

The South Australian Government provides services and avenues for assistance to support farm families, farm businesses and rural communities to manage the dry seasonal outlook. For more information, visit the Department of Primary Industries and Regions seasonal hardship webpage.

FaB Scout program

Provides access to advice from up to eight Family and Business (FaB) Support scouts, who are experienced mentors and business counsellors. 

More info: FaB support

Agriculture, Animal Health and Welfare Hotline

Provides a dedicated 24 hour hotline for anyone who is affected by current dry conditions and has questions about their individual circumstances or concerns relating to animal health or welfare - 1800 255 556.

More info: Seasonal hardship 24 hour hotline

Crop and pasture reports

Provides farmers with bimonthly reports on the condition of crops and pastures in South Australia.

More info: Crop and Pasture Reports

Farm Debt Mediation

Enforces a mandatory mediation process before a creditor is able to foreclose on an SA farming operation.

More info: Small Business Commissioner South Australia

Legal Advice Line

Free telephone legal advice is available for preliminary information, advice and referrals.

More info: Legal Services Commission South Australia

Victorian Government assistance

The Victorian Government supports Victorian dairy farmers to prepare and respond to drought. This includes technical, financial and personal support, for more information visit Drought support

Farm Debt Mediation

Makes it compulsory for banks and other creditors to offer mediation to Victorian farmers before commencing debt recovery proceedings on farm mortgages.

More info: Farm Debt Mediation Scheme

Look Over the Farm Gate Program

Provides health and wellbeing support for farmers and communities through community awareness and social and emotional wellbeing workshops and events in Central and East Gippsland and Northern Victoria.

More info: Look Over the Farm Gate

Drought Employment Program

Provides East and West Gippsland and parts of North East Catchment Management Authority with off-farm employment and training for farmers, farm workers and individuals affected by drought.
More info: AgVic Dry Seasons Support

On-Farm Drought Infrastructure Grants Program
Provides grants for Gippsland farmers to implement on-farm infrastructure to improve drought preparedness and management.
More info: AgVic Dry Seasons Support

Refocused Plan 2 Farm Program
Provides Murray Dairy farmers with assistance and support to make informed decisions about your farming future, including optimising investment and farm productivity.
More info: North Central Catchment Management Authority

Technical and decision-making support for farm businesses
Provides increased technical support to assist farm businesses manage dry seasonal conditions.
More info: AgVic Farmer Workshops