Drought Support

This list provides a range of initiatives and funding assistance measures relevant to primary producers and community members across the Edward River Council region.


Events & Workshops

Resilient Farm Businesses

Join us for an informative evening to hear from renowned experts from across Australia on farm diversification, farm financial management during climate variability and to hear from "The Unbreakable Farmer" himself.

It is also a great opportunity to take some time out to catch up for dinner with friends in a warm and welcoming environment.

  • Deniliquin Rovers Club Rooms Wednesday 25 September 2019, 5:30pm to 9:00pm

 Tickets $20 (dinner included)     

Mental Health Matters

Australian Red Cross is offering FREE Mental Health Matters workshops to all residents.

Come to this engaging interactive session and learn more about why mental health wellbeing matters and how to develop strategies for yourself and to how to better support others. The program offers a nurturing and accepting environment and covers topics such as: how mental health impacts us; resilience and self-care; recovery and rebuilding; recognising the signs of when more support is needed, how to respond to others, where to refer to for further help and what to do in a mental health crisis.

  • Deniliquin Golf Club Tuesday 1 October. Access further details here(PDF, 2MB).


Re-Gen Farming - Simple Soil Health Solutions

  • Deniliquin Golf Club Thursday 26th September. Access further details here.


Resilient Small Businesses

Join us for a full day of practical presentations and workshops to help drive your small business forward. Experts will be presenting on Profit and Cashflow Planning, Digital Marketing, Customer Service, High Performing Teams and Public Relations.

Whether you in retail, service or an online business, the program is jam-packed full of value for you.

  • Deniliquin Golf Club Friday 11th October (more information to follow)



Thrive Riverina: rural resilience and productivity

Edward River Council is inviting local women from all walks of life to come together for ‘thrive riverina’, a women’s resilience event in Deniliquin next month. This empowering event is the first of three community initiatives to be rolled out across the local area and is being supported by the Australian Governments Drought Communities Program.

This flagship event is focused on resilience, productivity and business development and gives local women the chance to hear from some incredibly successful business women, both locally and nationally, including CFO of MDH Pty Ltd, Julie McDonald, who runs one of Australia’s largest family owned and operated integrated beef cattle farms.

  • Deniliquin Multi Arts Centre Friday 16 August 2019, 9:45am to 3:30pm

 Tickets $40 (lunch, afternoon tea and masterclass included)

Boots Up

Edward River Council is inviting rural residents to put up their boots and catch up with friends at a series of drought relief events being held across the region over the coming weeks.

The free events will include a keynote address from former Richmond AFL player Neville Brady, a BBQ dinner and an indoor movie screening.

  • Pretty Pine Hotel Friday 2 August, 5:30pm to 9:00pm
  • Conargo Memorial Hall Friday 9 August, 5:30pm to 9:00pm

For more information click here.


Financial Assistance


Farm Innovation Fund

From 1 July 2019, farmers can borrow up to a maximum of $1 million per project, with a total of $1,000,000 outstanding at any one time to build on-farm infrastructure, including stock containment areas.

In addition, interest charges on Farm Innovation Fund loans for the 2019-20 financial year will be also be waived.

To learn more, visit https://www.raa.nsw.gov.au/assistance/farm-innovation-fund


RIC Low-interest loans

The Regional Investment Corporation provides affordable finance for farmers to modernise and diversify their business. Farmers can apply for farm investment loans and drought loans to finance immediate needs such as purchasing feed and fodder. For the first five years these loans will remain interest only (current variable interest rate of 3.11%) and farmers with existing loans can refinance to take advantage of the interest-only option. At the end of the term of the loan, you do not have the option to roll over, so you will have to go back to the commercial lender to take up the remaining debt.

The maximum loan has increased from $1 million to $2 million.

For more information call 1800 875 675 or visit www.ric.gov.au.


Drought Assistance Fund

Interest free loans of up to $50,000 are available to eligible primary producers to assist in implementing systems and management practices that enhance the sustainability of their enterprise. The loan term is seven years and there are no repayments required in the first two years. This essentially means the payback period is 5 years, or $10,000 per year.

This loan can fund:

  • transport of stock, fodder and water
  • genetic banking of breeding herds
  • installing of on-farm fodder and water infrastructure
  • activities that promote profitability and resilience as a result of the on-farm investment.


For more information, visit https://www.raa.nsw.gov.au/loans/drought-assistance-fund


Farm Household Allowance

The Federal Government Department of Human Services provides help for farmers and their families experiencing financial hardship. Farm Household Allowance (FHA) provides up to four cumulative years of support to eligible farming families experiencing financial hardship.

For more information call the Farmer Assistance Hotline on 132 316, or a rural financial counsellor on 1800 686 175.

To apply, visit www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/farm-household-allowance.


CWA of NSW Drought Aid

Assistance to help meet household expenses for drought affected families, up to a maximum of $3,000 per family/household, is available to eligible applicants. Expenses can include grocery bills, vehicle maintenance, school, electricity, rates, telephone, dental and medical (gap payments or cost of travel to access treatment) etc.

Access via https://www.cwaofnsw.org.au/droughtaid.html


Wage Subsidies

Financial assistance is available to you if you are looking to engage new employees who are between 15 and 29 years old or 50 and older, are parents, Indigenous Australian or are registered unemployed.

Up to $10,000 (GST inclusive) is available for new employees who are:

  • 15 to 24 years of age, 
  • Indigenous Australians, or 
  • 50 years of age and over.

Up to $6,500 (GST inclusive) is available for new employees who are:

  • 25 to 29 years of age, 
  • parents, or 
  • registered with an employment services provider for 12 months or more.

To apply, visit https://www.employment.gov.au/wage-subsidies


Drought Transport Subsidy

The NSW Government’s transport subsidy can be applied to the cost of transporting fodder, water to a property for stock or domestic use, stock to and from agistment, and stock to sale or slaughter.

For journeys completed between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020, eligible farmers can claim up to $40,000 per farm business. The subsidy covers up to 50% of the full cost of freight with a cap of $5 per kilometre (+GST). There is no cap on kilometres per journey for tax invoices paid between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020.

Visit https://www.raa.nsw.gov.au/grants/transport-subsidy


Animal Welfare Transport Subsidy

The NSW Government is subsidising 50% of eligible costs for the permanent transport of stock off a farm which is facing financial hardship and where livestock are at fat score 2 or below (dairy cattle 3 or below), to a maximum of $20,000 per financial year.

To learn more visit https://www.raa.nsw.gov.au/grants/transport-subsidy


Water Licence Assistance

The NSW Government is providing financial assistance of up to $4,000 to all general water security licence holders (and supplementary water access licence holders) in rural and regional NSW across surface and groundwater systems, and to customers of Irrigation Corporation. You do not need to apply for this waiver as it will be automatically applied to landholders on their next bill.



There are waivers on Farm Innovation Fund interest charges, Local Land Services charges, fees for existing grazing permit holders on National Parks land in the Riverina, agricultural vehicle registration waivers, bee site permit waivers. All waivers will be applied automatically.


Managing Farm Risk Program

The Managing Farm Risk Program provides rebates for advice and assessments to help farmers prepare and apply for a new insurance policy that assists with the management of drought and other production and market risks.

For more information call the Community Grants Hub on 1800 020 283, or visit www.grants.gov.au and search for GO625.


Farm Business Skills Professional Development Program

NSW farmers can apply for fee assistance to attend courses in professional development. Approved participants can claim a 50 percent subsidy of up to $5,000 for the first individual. There is an additional $1,000 available per person for a maximum of four people for a total maximum of $9,000 per farm business.

However, it does not have to be used to attend the pre-approved courses. In fact, the ‘training’ may take the form of one-on-one sessions with your financial advisor, accountant or lawyer. The training can cover; succession planning, financial and business management, farm business planning, risk management, drought preparedness planning or other topics that suit your particular requirements.

Learn more at https://www.raa.nsw.gov.au/education-and-training.


Young Farmer Business Program

The Young Farmer Business Program is creating opportunities for young farmers and fishers to enter or expand their existing businesses by helping them improve their business skills. A grant of up to $10,000 (excluding GST) is available per eligible farmer group and examples of projects include (but are not limited to) farm tours, commercial fishing business tours, workshops, events, business skills coaching, training and guest speakers. They also offer a Young Farmer Business School and workshops.

To learn more, visit https://farmtable.com.au/young-farmers-business-program/


Murrumbidgee Community Grants

As part of the Australian Government’s commitment to supporting farmers and communities deal with the uncertainty, stress and anxiety in drought affected areas, Murrumbidgee PHN (MPHN) is offering the Murrumbidgee Community Grants program.

Activities eligible for funding through the Murrumbidgee Community Grants initiative will address immediate support needs, but also foster longer term recovery and resilience. These could include community orientated wellbeing activities and training, or workforce capability development projects.

There are three levels of grants available:

  • Up to $1,500 
  • $1,501 to $10,000 
  • $10,001 to $30,000

To learn more, visit https://mphn.org.au/drought-support


Tackling Tough Times Together

The Tackling Tough Times Together grant program helps communities access the resources they need to support one another through the ongoing effects of the drought.

Grants are available for a broad range of grassroots, community-led initiatives that directly and clearly benefit local communities. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis and assessed quarterly.

Three tiers of grants are available:

  • Up to $20,000 – projects to be finalised within 18 months of approval; 
  • Up to $60,000 – projects to be finalised within 18 months of approval; 
  • Up to $150,000 – applications for this tier are by Expression of Interest, and multi-year projects (up to three years) are welcomed. Applicants must speak with the TTTT team to discuss their project before applying.

To learn more, visit https://www.frrr.org.au/grants/TTTT


Relief organisations

Organisations such as Rural Aid, Buy a Bale, Need for Feed, Outback Links, Drought Angels, and Aussie Helpers can assist via monetary, human resource and feed assistance.



Additional Support & Advice


Drought Relief Water Allocation

Eligible drought-affected ratepayers in the Edward River local government area to access up to 30,000 litres of rural water per application, free of charge, for stock and domestic use. Learn more at https://www.edwardriver.nsw.gov.au/Residents/Water-and-Waste/Drought-Relief


Rural Resilience Program

The NSW DPI Rural Resilience Program team is located across the State and can provide support by way of appropriate referrals, liaising with other services, and delivering initiatives tailored to the particular need of the community.


Australian Taxation Office advice

The ATO is providing tailored assistance to drought-affected communities to help you manage your tax affairs and obligations.

For more information call 1800 806 218 or visit www.ato.gov.au/drought.


Rural Financial Counselling Services (RFCS)

The Rural Financial Counselling Service NSW provides free and impartial rural financial counselling to eligible primary producers, fishers and small rural businesses who are suffering financial hardship, and who have no alternative sources of impartial support, to manage the challenges of change and adjustment.


The Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP)

RAHMP provides a range of information services to individuals, communities and service providers to link rural and remote people to the help they need.

This includes information on where to access services, common mental illnesses and how to keep

mentally healthy, as well as the Glove Box Guide to Mental Health. Visit http://www.ramhp.com.au/


Additional Support Organisations

Organisation’s are here to support you if you are in need. Please refer to numbers below:

  • Kids Helpline – phone 1800 551 800 telephone counselling service 24 hours, seven days a week
  • Community Mental Health Line- phone 1800 011 511
  • Mensline Australia –phone 1300 789, 24 hours a day, 7 day telephone counselling for men
  • Beyondblue depression information line phone 1300 224 636
  • Lifeline - 13 11 14
  • Australian Red Cross- the Red Cross provides personal support during a disaster and an outreach service to affected households. Contact 1800 660 066 or (02) 49413200 in the Hunter area.
  • Black Dog Institute – phone (02) 9382 4530
  • Domestic Violence Line – 1800 656 463
  • Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467