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Australian Government support
for drought impacted communities

Australia’s farmers and rural communities know that in our dry continent, drought is an enduring feature – something to be lived through and planned for. And they know drought isn’t like a flood or fire. It creeps up slowly, but when it starts to hit, it hits hard.

The Australian Government has committed more than $10 billion (in drought support and concessional loans since 18-19) to help farmers and rural and regional businesses and communities respond to and recover from the current drought and be better prepared for future droughts.

This page contains a summary of Australian Government drought support measures. 
You can also find out about drought  assistance on Drought Recovery Connect and FarmHub.

Regional Recovery Officers

The National Drought and Flood Agency’s Regional Recovery Officers are a voice for people living outside of the larger cities and a crucial source of real time information about how Australian Government assistance measures are working for primary producers, regional businesses and communities.

The regional team plays a key coordination role, working with all levels of government, health professionals, counsellors, small businesses, charities, agricultural and community organisations to provide effective on-the-ground assistance for people impacted by drought, natural disasters like floods and bushfires, and challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Visit our Regional Recovery Officer page.

Farm Household Allowance (FHA)

Provides support to eligible farming families experiencing financial hardship.
For more information visit the FHA website or call the Farmer Assistance Hotline on 132 316.
To apply for FHA, click here.

Drought Community Support Initiative (DSCI)

Immediate financial support of up to $3,000 is available for farmers, farm workers and suppliers/contractors facing hardship due to drought.
To apply visit:

Rural Financial Counselling Service

Provides free confidential financial counselling to farmers, fishers, forest growers and harvesters and related small business owners who are suffering financial hardship. The RFCS can also put farmers and graziers in touch with trusted advocates that can provide appropriate personal counselling.
For more information call 1800 686 175 or visit the RFCS website.

Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) loans

Farmers can apply for farm investment loans and drought loans up to $2 million to finance needs such as purchasing feed and fodder, through the Regional Investment Corporation.
For more information and to apply for loans call 1800 875 675 or visit the Regional Investment Corporation website.  

Farm Management Deposits Scheme

Allows eligible primary producers to set aside pre-tax income from their primary production activities to draw upon in future years when needed. 
For more information visit the Deposits Scheme website.

Accelerated depreciation for fodder and water infrastructure  

Accelerated depreciation arrangements which allow an immediate deduction for the cost of new water facilities, fodder storage assets and fencing.  These include depreciation of:

  • water facilities over 1 year (previously 3 years)
  • fodder storage assets over three years (previously up to 50 years)
  • fencing over 1 year (previously up to 30 years).

For more information visit the ATO website.

Income tax averaging

Allows farmers to even out their high and low income years and the tax payable over a maximum of five years.
For more information visit the ATO website.

On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme

Provides rebates for emergency on-farm water infrastructure expenses. You can apply for a 25% rebate on the cost of new infrastructure that supplies water for animal welfare, up to a maximum of $25,000. The roll-out of the expanded Scheme is currently being negotiated with all states and territories, including co-funding arrangements. Once those arrangements have been finalised, further information will be available here.

Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy

The subsidy will provide support in the first three years of an Australian Apprenticeship.

View the Apprentice wage subsidy fact sheet here.

Emergency relief

Emergency Relief is delivered by community organisations to help with immediate basic needs during a crisis.

To find a provider offering Emergency Relief support visit https://serviceproviders.dss.gov.au/ - search Financial Crisis and Material Aid – Emergency Relief

Isolated Children Scheme

A range of payments for parents and carers of children who can't go to a local government school because of geographical isolation, disability or special needs.
Visit the Services Australia website for more information and to apply.

In Home Care program

Provides flexible care that supports families’ workforce participation and child care requirements where other options are not available or appropriate, particularly in rural and remote areas. 

For more information visit the Home Care page.  

Health and wellbeing 

There are many health networks available for people in rural and remote areas, including:

  • Primary Health Network
  • Royal Flying Doctor Service mental health clinicians - For 24 hour medical and emergency help in South Australia call 1800 RFDS SA or 1800 733 772.
  • Head to Health - free or low-cost Australian digital mental health services.
  • ReachOUT is a website-based mental health service for young people
  • Lifeline, 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services - Call 131 114
  • MensLine Australia - information and referral service for men with family and relationship concerns. 1300 78 99 78 or visit
  • Suicide Call Back Service - 24/7 telephone and online counselling. Call 1300 659 467 or visit

Last updated 4 February 2021