Message from the CEO, Julia Andrews

Julia AndrewsWelcome to the first RDA Central West e-newsletter for 2019 – jam packed with information on funding opportunities and events across the region. While we have some fantastic projects and events happening this year, we cannot ignore the fact that we are still in the grip of a terrible drought, intensified by record-breaking heat-waves.

It’s not just our farmers feeling the effects of this drought, but farming contractors and local rural businesses. Currently, Vinnies, the Salvos, the CWA and Lions are doing amazing work distributing $3,000 cash injection grants to many in need. Please note you do not have to be a primary producer to apply for these grants. Ag-related businesses (for example, farm machinery mechanics and fencers) are also eligible.

However, we know that many rural businesses not directly related to primary production – our retailers, grocers and our hairdressers for example – are also being affected by a downturn in business due to the drought.  While there is not currently any direct financial drought assistance available to these second-tier businesses, there are financial counselling and mental health services you can contact. The ATO, for example, may be able to provide assistance to individuals and businesses in financial difficulty. Please refer to this comprehensive Government Drought Assistance document for more information.

Primary producers and ag-related businesses who need help with expenses such as a grocery bills, vehicle maintenance, school, electricity, rates, telephone, dental and medical (gap payments or cost of travel to access treatment) etc, should contact the agencies below who are doing a wonderful job of distributing help as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Vinnies Drought Assistance;

Salvos Drought Assistance;

CWA Drought Assistance;

Rotary Australia World Community Service;

Federal Government Drought Assistance Guide.