Councils in NSW want drought funding to be sent to struggling farmers immediately.

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Linda Scott has urged the Federal Government to “get the funding out the door”.

“The August 19 announcement that 34 NSW councils would receive a $1 million funding boost was very welcome news,” Cr Scott said.

“Our drought-affected members tell me that this package will make a very real difference to their communities, and they are champing at the bit to get started on locally-based programs.

“What we need now is to get this money out the door as soon as possible.”

She said the flow-on effects of the drought can reach beyond the agricultural sector.

“The impact doesn’t stop with our farmers,” Cr Scott said.

“The devastation flows through to the farm-dependent small businesses and local economies, and in a worst-case scenario this impact can wipe out entire towns.”

Reports say the $1 million funding boost going to each of 34 NSW councils will be applied to projects such as:

  • employing local contractors to undertake repairs and maintenance to local facilities
  • carting potable water into communities for drinking and bathing
  • upgrading or building new community facilities
  • holding events and undertaking drought relief activities

“Councils are often the major service provider and employer in a rural community, so they are very well placed to direct this funding where it could be most beneficial for the community,” she said.

“LGNSW strongly supports the extension of the Federal Drought Communities Program, as well as the significant funding support provided at a state level by the NSW Government.

“At a state level, the NSW Government has swung into action with a $500 million Emergency Drought Relief Package to help farmers, and there are a wide range of different programs all designed to respond to the drought in different ways.

“Our national colleagues in the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) are working closely with the federal government to get funding to the neediest communities as quickly and effectively as possible, and LGNSW is ready and willing to do the same at a state level.”